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ZTbe Mtsoom of tbe Bast Series 



















MENT 37 














object of the Editors of this series is a 
-I- very definite one. They desire above all 
things that, in their humble way, these books 
shall be the ambassadors of good-will and 
understanding between East and West the old 
world of Thought and the new of Action. In 
this endeavour, and in their own sphere, they 
are but followers of the highest example in the 
land. They are confident that a deeper know- 
ledge of the great ideals and lofty philosophy 
of Oriental thought may help to a revival of 
that true spirit of Charity which neither despises 
nor fears the nations of another creed and 
colour. Finally, in thanking press and public 
for the very cordial reception given to the 
" Wisdom of the East " Series, they wish to state 
that no pains have been spared to secure the 
best specialists for the treatment of the various 
subjects at hand. 






' "TTTHEN the religion formerly received is 
V V rent by discords," remarks Bacon in his 
subtle essay on the " Vicissitudes of Things," 
" and when the holiness of the professors of 
religion is decayed and full of scandal, and withal 
the times be stupid, ignorant, and barbarous, 
you may doubt the springing up of a new sect ; 
if then also there should arise any extravagant 
and strange spirit to make himself author thereof. 
If a new sect have not two properties, fear it not, 
for it will not spread : the one is the supplanting, 
or the opposing of authority established for 
nothing is more popular than that ; the other is 
the giving licence to pleasures and a voluptuous 
life : for as for speculative heresies (such as 
were in ancient times the Arians, and now the 
Arminians), though they work mightily upon 
men's wits, they do not produce any great altera- 
tion in States, except it be by the help of civil 


occasions. There be three manners of planta- 
tions of new sects : by the power of signs and 
miracles ; by the eloquence and wisdom of speech 
and persuasion ; and by the sword. For martyr- 
doms, I reckon them amongst miracles, because 
they seem to exceed the strength of human 
nature ; and I may do the like of superlative and 
admirable holiness of life." 

So far as his range of knowledge extended, 
Bacon's remarks are true. But when we attempt 
to apply them to the history of Buddhism, we 
find that they need considerable qualification. 
Buddhism arose in an age when " the holiness of 
the professors of religion," the influence of the 
Brahman hierarchy in India, was " decayed and 
full of scandal." But the times, far from being 
" stupid, ignorant, and barbarous," were full of 
eager intellectual and moral activity ; on all 
sides ancient doctrines were being reaffirmed by 
their professors and assailed by critics, while new 
systems of thought were rising everywhere. The 
Buddha himself was not an " extravagant and 
strange spirit," but a man whose thought in 
essentials was thoroughly in harmony with the 
ideas of Hinduism, and whose character fulfilled 
a Hindu ideal. His Church did indeed endeavour 
to supplant the authority of the Brahmans ; but 
it sought to attain this end neither by " the giving 
licence to pleasures and a voluptuous life," nor 
by the sword. Its marvellous success was due to 


" the eloquence and wisdom of speech and j 
persuasion " and to " the superlative and admir- f 
able holiness of life " of the Buddha. 

About a hundred miles north from Benares, on 
the border of Nepal, where the plain of the 
Ganges begins to rise to the uplands at the edge 
of the mighty Himalayas, lies a little region 
which was once the home of the Sakyas, a class 
of Kshatriyas, or men of the warrior caste. To 
Suddhodana of Kapila-vastu, a nobleman of the 
Gautama family of this tribe, was born about 
560 B.C. a son Siddhartha. When he grew up 
Siddhartha likewise married and begot a son, 
Rahula by name. And then, when he was about 
twenty-nine years of age, as tradition relates, 
Siddhartha became weary of the world and the 
flesh. The ghastly riddle of Life Life with its 
endless vicissitudes of phantom pleasure and 
ever-renewed pain was ceaselessly pressing itself 
upon him, as it has pressed itself upon so many 
thousands of other Hindus, and he could find 
no rest in his father's home. So he left the world, 
to become a wandering beggar-student, in the 
hope of finding the key to the great mystery in 
the teachings of some master of philosophic lore. 
But none of the teachers whom he met could 
satisfy the hunger of his soul, and the severest 
mortifications of the flesh brought him no light. 

One day, as he sat meditating in the shadow 
of a fig-tree, his long searchings of heart came to 


an end, and the answer to the mystery of life was 
revealed to him. Henceforth he was the Buddha, 
the Enlightened Seer, who had won the perfect 
peace of spiritual knowledge, the Nirvana l ; 
and the remaining years of his long life were 
passed in imparting his teaching for the salvation 
of his fellow-creatures, and thus founding the 
Buddhist Church, until about 482 B.C., full of years 
and honour, he departed to the supreme Nirvana. 
When we examine the doctrines which appear 
to have been taught by the Buddha," we see that 
they are founded upon two ancient conceptions 
that are characteristic of Hindu thought : the 
pessimistic idea of Karma, and the Samsara, 
" works " and " wandering." According to the 
usual Indian creed, the universe is tenanted by 
a countless number of souls in various degrees of 
elevation ; and each of them must pass through 
an endless number of births and deaths in the 
most various kinds of bodies. Every moment 
of experience that each soul undergoes in each 
incarnation is the direct result of an act per- 
formed in a former birth or later, and in its turn 
bears fruit in a future experience, thus forming 
a series of sorrows without beginning and without 

1 See below, p. 18. 

2 On this subject the reader will do well to study the latest, 
and in several respects the best, summary, Boiiddhisme : 
Opinions sur VHistoire de la Dogmatique, by Professor L. de 
la Vallee Poussin (Paris, 1909). 


end. For life, however pleasant it may seem, is 
in reality but a long illusive agony, from which 
only the few escape who by their perfect spiritual 
insight win to identity with the transcendental 
Being, Brahma. 

Now the Buddha, according to the ancient 
tradition of the Pali Canon, dissented from this 
teaching on one very important point. He 
denied that there is a soul in the individual, and 
that there is a God, or Supreme Being, working in 
the manifold phenomena of the universe. Of 
course he believed in gods : no Hindu has ever 
seriously called them into question ; but the 
gods, according to him, differed only in degree 
from mankind, and neither class possessed that 
permanent centre of thought, tTiat unchanging 
identity of consciousness, which we call " soul " 
or " self." Our thoughts are never quite the 
same from second to second ; our mental life is 
only a series of causally connected instants of 
consciousness. By this denial the Buddha 
thought that he could more readily remove the 
moral and intellectual weakness of humanity 
which is founded upon the conception " I am " ; 
for if there is no real subject of thought, no 
" soul " or " self," it cannot predicate its own 
existence, and therefore cannot conceive selfish 
desire. And desire is the root of embodied life, 
and therefore of all evil. 

The Buddha therefore taught a " Middle Path," 


equally remote from worldly ways and from 
extreme asceticism, the " Noble Path of Eight 
Members." The members of this Path are as 
follows : Right Views, or acceptance of the 
Buddha's teachings which we have above set 
forth ; Bight Desires, or pure aspirations making 
for righteousness, charity, and purity of heart ; 
Right Speech ; Right Conduct ; Right Livelihood ; 
Right Effort, or constant intentness to avoid 
lapses into frailties of thought or conduct ; Right 
Mindfulness, or continual dwelling of the memory 
on the teachings of the Faith for the same purpose ; 
and Right Ecstasy, or spiritual exercises tending to 
promote the peace and sanctity of the mind. 
This "Noble Path" is one of the four "Noble 
Truths " which are the pillars of the Buddha's 
system to wit, the fact that life is miserable, 
the fact that its misery has a cause, the fact that 
this cause can be killed and thereby the sorrow 
of life removed, and the fact that the " Noble 
Path " is the only method that can attain this 
end, for it destroys the selfish individualism 
inherent in the human mind, the "original sin," 
and creates a universal knowledge and sym- 
pathy and a spiritual calm and purity which are 

The Buddha's doctrine as to the real nature of 
Being and consciousness was expressed in a 
famous formula, called in Sanskrit Pratltya- 
samutpdda and in Pali Patichcha-samuppada, 


which means " origination in a causal series." 
The members of this series are as follows : 

Ignorance (Sanskrit, avidyd ; Pali, avijja). 

Conformations (Sanskrit, samskdras ; Pali, sam- 

Consciousness (Sanskrit, vijndna ; Pah', vinndna). 

Name and Form (Sanskrit and Pali, ndma-rupa). 

Six sense-organs (Sanskrit, shad-dyatana ; Pali, 

Contact (Sanskrit, sparda ; Pali, phassa). 

Feeling (Sanskrit and Pali, vedand). 

Desire (Sanskrit, trishnd ; Pali, tanhd). 

Attraction (Sanskrit and Pali, updddna). 

Being (Sanskrit and Pali, bhava). 

Birth (Sanskrit and Pali, jdti). 

Age and Death (Sanskrit and Pali, jard-marana), 
grief, lamentation, pain, depression, and despair 
(Sanskrit, soka-paridevana-duhkha-daurmanasya- 

There are very few dogmas in the whole history 
of philosophy and religion that have been so 
copiously discussed and so differently interpreted 
as this. It seems to be an attempt to show how 
individual existences and consciousnesses arise 
in the cosmic process. According to Buddhist 
teaching, there is no permanent " soul " and 
there is no real " matter." There exists only an 
infinite number of series of consciousnesses either 
potentially or actively in operation, and each 
series consists of a succession of moments of 


consciousness, each moment being the direct 
resultant of its predecessors. Now the force which 
directs this process in each series is its karma, or 
" works," the influence of former activities, mostly 
in previous births ; it is by reason of its former 
karma that a train of consciousness at a particular 
moment begins to develop itself into an " indi- 
vidual," that is to say, a consciousness of being 
a particular person, human, divine, or animal. 
So we may interpret the Buddha's formula as a 
vague expression for the manner in which the 
individual emerges from the ocean of cosmic 
being. First in order is " ignorance " ; that is 
to say, when we analyse the operation of karma 
upon a train of moments of consciousness, we 
find that its primary effect is to cause ignorance, 
namely, the false belief held by this consciousness 
that it is a " self," an ego, and the other con- 
sequent delusions. This ignorance, in turn, issues 
in "conformations," the potentialities of love, 
hatred, and the like weaknesses of the spirit, 
which are the resultants of activities in previous 
individuated existences, and inspire to future 
activities. Then emerges consciousness of finite 
being in general, and from this issue " name and 
form," the conception of a definite world of 
particulars. This leads to the evolution of the 
sense-organs, and the union of these with the 
apparent world outside them produces sensation, 
which issues in desire. In its turn desire leads to 


" attraction," the attachment to individual life. 
So finite existence, bhava, is at last reached, and 
the developed consciousness passes through the 
stages of birth, disease, sorrow, and finally death. 
Then the process begins anew under the guidance 
of the old karma, reinforced by that which has 
resulted from the process that has just come to 
an end. If this interpretation be right (and it 
must be confessed that several others are equally 
plausible), it is evident that the formula is by 
no means satisfactory on all points ; the causal 
connection between several of the members in 
the series in the Pratltya-samutpada is far from 
being clear, and can only be regarded as a dogma 
post hoc, ergo propter hoc. 

An individual, according to Buddhist teaching, 
does not really exist ; but the semblance of an 
individual, the phenomenal personality, is a fact 
that cannot be denied, and must be explained. 
The Buddhists explain it by saying that it is a 
combination of Name and Form. In " Name " 
are included all the subjective phenomena of 
thought, namely, feeling, general notions, " con- 
formations," and definite consciousness, which 
are called " aggregations " (in Sanskrit, skandhas ; 
in Pali, khandhas). " Form," meaning the four 
elements of physical nature (earth, water, fire, 
and air) and their products, is a fifth khandha. As 
we have seen, the force that unites these five 
khandas into an apparent individual or person- 


ality is what is called in Sanskrit karma, in Pali 
kamma, the resultant of all his previous acts. 
" When a man dies, the khandhas of which he is 
constituted perish, but by the force of his kamma 
a new set of khandhas instantly starts into exist- 
ence, and a new being appears in another world, 
who, though possessing different khandhas and 
a different form, is in reality identical with the 
man just passed away, because his kamma is the 
same. Kamma, then, is the link that preserves 
the identity of a being through all the countless 
changes which it undergoes in its progress through 
Samsara." * Now the great purpose of Buddhism, 
like that of most Hindu faiths, is to enable the 
believer to reach the perfect spiritual peace of 
Nirvana, and thus come to an end of the cycle 
of embodied births. To attain this object he 
must destroy his kamma ; and this can be done 
by walking in the " Noble Path," which will 
infallibly lead him, either in his present birth or 
later, to final salvation. 

This is, in broad outline, the teaching of 
Buddhism as it is understood by most Buddhists 
in Ceylon and Further India. In theory it verges 
upon nihilistic idealism, for it regards all the data 
of finite experience as pure subjective phenomena 
corresponding to no objective reality, and created 
merely by the force of karma ; there is no higher 
Power than man's own will, and his karma to 
1 Childers, Pali Dictionary, s.v. khandho. 


help him towards salvation. On the deepest 
mysteries of existence, the origin of karma and 
the condition of the spirit after it has passed 
away for ever from the cycle of births, Buddhism 
has nothing to tell us. In practice it is a creed 
that fosters in its votaries in abundant measure 
both the homely virtues of laic life, and the 
higher spiritual aspirations of asceticism ; and 
its ideals are well expressed in one of its best 
known texts, the Mangala-sutta of the Sutta- 
nipata : 

" Following not the foolish, following the 
learned, reverence for the worshipful this is the 
highest blessing." 

" Dwelling in a meet land, merit from deeds 
done of old, due heed to one's own spirit this 
is the highest blessing." 

" Depth of learning, craftsmanship, gentle 
breeding well taught, words well spoken this 
is the highest blessing." 

" Service to father and mother, the company | 
of wife and child, and peaceful pursuits this is 
the highest blessing." 

" Almsgiving and righteousness, the company \ 
of kinsfolk, blameless works this is the highest l 

" Withholding and withdrawing oneself from I 
sin, abstinence from strong drink, needfulness in ' 
doing duty this is the highest blessing." 

" Reverence and humility, cheerfulness and , 



gratitude, listening in due season to the Law 
this is the highest blessing." 

" Long-suffering, gentleness of speech, sight of 
| godly men, conversation upon the Law in due 
season this is the highest blessing." 

" Mortification of the flesh and chastity, vision 
\ of the Noble Truths, and winning to the Nirvana 
this is the highest blessing." 

" He whose spirit is stirred not when he is 
touched by the shows of the world, but abides 
unsorrowing, undefiled, and happy this is the 
highest blessing." 

" They who do thus, and are never overwhelmed, 
come ever to salvation theirs is this highest 

But an important question arises here. Are 
the doctrines which we have outlined the original 
teaching of the Buddha, or do they not rather 
represent the opinions of the school which formed 
the Pali Canon some centuries after his death a 
monastic fraternity with a strong bent towards 
rationalism ? . Even in this Canon the teachings 
ascribed to the Master are full of logical incon- 
sistencies. What then was the Master's own 
doctrine ? 

Certain knowledge on this point is impossible. 
But it seems most likely that the Buddha's real 
attitude was somewhat like that of the positivist 
and agnostic. He had no revelations to commu- 
nicate on the highest problems of philosophy and 


theology. Sometimes he seems to have inclined 
in his utterances to one side, sometimes to 
another ; but this was apparently for the sake 
of argument, and there seems to be much truth 
in the tradition which represents him as having 
forbidden his followers to speculate upon the 
deepest questions of life. Even of Nirvana he 
refused to give any definition ; when the question 
was bluntly put by an inquiring monk, he was 
told that he would never know anything about 
it. It is even doubtful whether his denial of 
the Self was an essential part of his doctrine, 
or whether it was only adopted for purposes of 
controversy. His great aim was practical. He 
sought to impart a remedy for the world's sorrow, 
to teach his fellow-creatures an escape from their 
karma and its fatal fruit of earthly birth. This 
remedy was the utter destruction of desire, even 
of the desire for salvation. It could be attained 
by the man or woman who renounced the world, 
entered into the monastic order, followed the 
" Noble Path," and in perfect calm and happiness 
of spirit waited until death should open the 
portals of the unknowable, everlasting Stillness 
from which there is no return. Karma and its ] 
resultant metempsychosis were to him facts of j 
practical experience, and could be remedied by 
an empirical method, the suppression of desire 
under a practical law of conduct ; as to their 
metaphysical basis he made no revelation. It 


is as the departed Teacher of the way to Nirvana, 
as the Master, that he is worshipped by the 

But there were other elements in the doctrine 
of early Buddhism which could not fail to bear 
fruit. As we have already remarked, it lays 
stress on the impermanence of beings : nothing 
finite exists in itself, everything is a collection 
of skandhas temporarily united. It is, in fact, a 
theory of " phenomenalism," and thus opened a 
way for development in two directions. On the 
one hand there grew up a school of nihilism, 
which dialectically established the non-existence 
of everything ; on the other hand arose an 
idealism which arrived at very similar conclu- 

In another and more practical issue the newer 
teaching departed from the old. The Buddha 
Gautama, according to the doctrine of his Church, 
was preceded by twenty-four other Buddhas, 
each of whom is supposed to have preached the 
same Law in different ages of the world. Now 
a Buddha can only attain the rank of Buddhahood 
after a long course of spiritual progress in former 
births of the most various kinds. A being thus 
destined to Buddhahood is called a Bodhi-sattva, 
or " creature of enlightenment." At some point 
in his existence he has conceived an aspiration 
to become a Buddha for the salvation of his 
fellow-creatures, and thenceforth he advances in 


birth after birth to higher and higher sanctity 
in the practice of the ten Perfections l until at I 
last he is born as the Buddha, preaches the Law, 
and passes away into the everlasting stillness of 
Nirvana. A vast amount of Buddhist literature 
consists of Jdtakas, or legends of the deeds in 
which the Bodhi-sattvas proved their fitness for 
their high mission. 

It was around these points that the breach 
arose which split the Church into the divisions 
which we commonly and somewhat inaccurately 
distinguish as Northern and Southern Buddhism. 
The older Buddhism that we have surveyed in 
outline did not give enough play for the elements . 
of mysticism and emotion that have always been ! 
strong in the Hindu spirit. Its saints, the 
Arhats, were regularly ordained members of 
monastic fraternities, who sought salvation for 
themselves and denied Nirvana to laymen ; and 
though their deeds of charity and other righteous- 
ness were incontestable, it was argued that their 
merit was marred by this self -seeking. Its I 
theology was very sober, according to Indian I 
standards ; it tended towards intellectualism, 
and allowed little room for the large and highly 
coloured mythological imagination in which the 

1 The Paramitds, or Perfections, according to the chief 
Northern schools, are almsgiving, morality, long-suffering, 
manliness, meditation, mystic insight (prajna), resolution, 
strength, knowledge, and skill in choice of means (updya). 


Hindu thought revels. Now during the early 
centuries of Buddhism the Vishnuite Church grew 
rapidly, and the spirit that inspired it was stirring 
likewise in Buddhism. This force was what the 
Hindus call bhakti, a passionate emotional wor- 
ship of a supreme God revealed on earth in human 
personality. Many Buddhists also longed to find 
a supreme God, to whom they could offer a wor- 
ship of the heart, and whose personality could 
satisfy their restless imaginations. Thus arose 
upon the old foundations a new Church, a vast 
and gorgeous edifice of soaring fancy tenanted 
by countless Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas trans- 
figured into a magnificent brilliance of godhead 
and worshipped with a passionate fervour of 
self -surrendering love. The new Church held out 
to all alike the dazzling hope of Buddhahood. 
Every man, however humble or sinful, might 
become a Bodhi-sattva, a candidate for Buddha- 
hood, and finally reach that blessed end, if he 
would but will it so and hold to his purpose. 
Love for the holy Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas of 
the past, the omnipotent and omnipresent hier- 
archy of Heaven, and love for his fellow-creatures, 
manifested in perfect self-sacrifice for their needs, 
active compassion and charity, were the prime 
requisites for salvation. Inspired by this vivid 
energy, the new Buddhism speedily took posses- 
sion of Northern India, Tibet, Central Asia, and 


That this movement was antinomian and ' 
fraught with danger from the first, is obvious. 
Its doctrine of love unfettered by considerations 
of social expediency and ordinary morality, 1 and 
the wild luxuriance of its myth, were capable of | 
working harm as well as good, and in practice 
have often lent themselves to the most dis- 
graceful abuse. But on this dark side of the 
picture we need not dwell here. It is enough 
that we should recognise that the Mahd-ydna, 
the " Great Vehicle," as the new Church proudly 
called itself, in opposition to the more primitive 
Buddhism, which it scornfully styled Hlna-ydna, 
the " Little Vehicle," laid especial stress upon 
the emotional side of religion and ethics, which 
had been somewhat neglected in the latter school, 
and that it thus gained a novel character and 

In the doctrine of the older schools the Buddha 
was a teacher whose enlightenment raised him 
above all the gods, but withal a man, who had . 
passed away from the world for ever, and could j 
no more wield any influence upon it, save as a 1 
holy and blessed memory. His Nirvana was the 
same as that of any other man who should attain i 
it. He dispensed no divine power to bring his { 
followers to salvation ; only their own efforts 

1 In justice to some theologians, such as SSnti-deva, it 
must be said that they endeavoured to correct this anti- 
nomiarusm ; but they hardly succeeded. 


could win for them that goal. Man's destiny is 
moulded by his own acts, his " karma," and each 
individual's karma concerns him alone, and can- 
not be applied for the spiritual weal of another. 
Lastly, as we have already remarked, salvation 
was confined to the monastic orders. 

The Maha-yana changed almost everything. 

{The Buddha now appeared as a god of the first 
order, invested with all the qualities that the 
most extravagant mythopceic imagination could 
suggest. Like the conception of Christ in the 
Docetic schools, he was imagined as existing 
throughout the whole of the cosmic period, in 
the " Body of Enjoyment " visible to the beatified 
Bodhi-sattvas, and the " Body of Magic Form " 
revealed to common mortals ; and he was multi- 
plied to infinity. Imagination created countless 
periods and countless domains, each under the 
presidency of a Buddha ; and from the beginning 
of our era we observe that the historical Gautama 
Buddha, even in his most mythical disguise, 
begins to fall into the background, whilst other 
figures of purely mythical origin become the first 
: favourites of popular fancy. The most con- 
r spicuous of these is the Buddha Amitabha, " He 
of Infinite Light," a being of supreme splendour 
and grace ; for now the Buddhas have become 
active dispensers of grace, at any rate from the 
standpoint of relative truth. Each Buddha 
dwells in his paradise amidst a retinue of Bodhi- 


sattvas ; of the latter the two highest in rank 
serve as the ministers of his grace, constantly 
visiting the worlds under his rule in the forms 
most suitable to their purpose, in order to show 
their love for suffering mortality by helping them 
in divers ways and leading them to paradise. . 
The paradise of Amitabha is Sukhdvati, " The i 
Happy Place," a fairyland which is tenanted by 
an entirely divine population dwelling in perfect 
bliss. 1 Amitabha's chief minister is Avalokite- \ 
svara, a Bodhi-sattva who has taken a vow not 
to enter Nirvana until he has led thither all living 
creatures, and who for this supreme grace is 
worshipped throughout the North with a corre- 
sponding fervour of devotion. As a last develop- 
ment of this mythology, the Buddhas are asso- 
ciated with Taras, or Saviour-Ladies, who under 
the form of sexual antithesis typify their consorts' 
energy of grace. 

The moral standpoint is likewise changed. 
The ideal is no longer the calm, ascetic monk, I 
waiting in cheerful tranquillity for the end, but 
the Bodhi-sattva, the self-appointed votary seek- 
ing eagerly to procure happiness for his fellow- 
creatures at any cost, even if he must surrender 
his own right to spiritual advancement as the 
price. For now is affirmed the principle of 

1 One of the most popular Mahayanist texts is the Suk- 
havati-vyuha, which is a detailed description of this fairy- 


parinamand : the karma of an individual is 
no longer confined to his experience, but can be 
made to redound to the benefit of others. The 
righteous can, of their own free will, sacrifice the 
merit of their own good deeds for the happiness of 
their fellow-creatures . Strictly speaking, as we shall 
see, the ideas of " self," " non-self," " happiness," 
and " suffering " are illusions. They are real 
only from the standpoint of relative truth. But 
this condition of imperfect reality is inseparable 
from humanity ; it must be accepted and made 
the basis of a moral activity which by perfect 
self-sacrifice purifies the spirit from the taint of 
finite error. And so Santi-deva ends his Bodhi- 
chayavatdra with a chapter of prayer that the 
merit gained by him by his work may not only 
uplift him to the higher grades of beatification 
as a Bodhi-sattva, but may be also diverted for 
the benefit of fellow-creatures. 

" Through the blessing which comes to me for 
pondering upon the entrance into the Path of 
Enlightenment, may all beings be brightened by 
walking in Enlightenment. May all that are 
sick of body and soul in every region find oceans 
of bliss and delight through my merits. Whilst 
embodied life lasts on, may they never lack 
happiness, and for ever may the world win the 
joy of the Sons of Enlightenment. In all the 
hells that are in the spheres of the universe may 
creatures rejoice in the delights of paradise. May 


they that are afflicted with cold find warmth, the 
heat-smitten be cooled in the oceans raining 
from the mighty clouds of the Son of Enlighten- 
ment. . . . May all skies be gracious to all way- 
farers, and may they encompass as they purpose 
the enterprise for which they journey. May 
such as travel on ship achieve their desire, and 
come in happiness to shore and rejoice with their 
kindred. May they who stray amid wildernesses 
find company of travellers' troops, and journey 
on without dread of bandits and wild beasts. 
In the stress of sickness, wildernesses, and the 
like may the heavenly powers guard the slumber- 
ing, the distraught, and the heedless, the master- 
less, the young, and the aged. May they be for 
ever saved from all mischance, dowered with 
faith, understanding, and tenderness, and pos- 
sessed of goodly shape and virtue. May their 
storehouses never fail and their treasuries rise to 
the skies, and may they live in freedom, without 
strife or affliction. May beings of little strength 
win much strength, and the hapless creatures 
that are of ill form become goodly. May all 
women in the world become men ; and to their 
estate may the humble come, and lose their 
vanity. Through this my merit may all beings 
cease from every sin, and everlastingly do 
righteousness, lacking not the Thought of 
Enlightenment, surrendering themselves to the 
Path of Enlightenment, withholding their hands 


from the works of the Tempter, and be taken into 
the arms of the Enlightened. May all creatures 
have boundless term of age ; may they live for 
ever in bliss, and the very name of death perish. 
May all regions become filled with Buddhas 
and Sons of the Buddhas, 1 and lovely with groves 
of the Trees of Desire ravishing the heart with 
the sound of the Law. ... As long as the 
heavens and the earth abide, may I continue to 
overcome the world's sorrows. May all the 
world's suffering be cast upon me, and may 
the world be made happy by all the merits of 
the Bodhi-sattva." 

In its metaphysics the Maha-yana carried to 
a logical conclusion the nihilistic idealism that 
had begun to find expression in the older schools. 
Its cardinal doctrine is that " all is void." Every- 
thing that is conceived or can be conceived by the 
mind is but a subjective imagination in constant 
flux, existing only in instants of the thought of 
the subject and by virtue of his karma. No 
permanent reality can be predicated of it, except 
that it is really " void." " There are five 
skandhas,* and these he considered as by their 
nature empty. Form is emptiness, and emptiness 
indeed is form. . . . Thus perception, name, 
conception, and knowledge also are emptiness. 
Thus, O Sariputra, all things have the character 
of emptiness, they have no beginning, no end, 
1 Bodhi-sattvas. 2 See above, p. 15. 


they are faultless and not faultless, they are not 
imperfect and not perfect. Therefore, O $ari- 
putra, here in this emptiness there is no form, 
no perception, no name, no concept, no know- 
ledge. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and 
mind. No form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and 

objects There is no knowledge, no 

ignorance, no destruction (of ignorance) .... 
there is no decay and death, no destruction of 
decay and death ; there are not (the Four 
Truths, 1 viz.) that there is pain, origin of pain, 
stoppage of pain, and the path to it. There is no 
knowledge, no obtaining^ no not-obtaining, of 
Nirvana. Therefore, Sariputra, as there is 
no obtaining (of Nirvana), a man who has ap- 
proached the Prajna-paramita 2 of the Bodhi- 
sattvas dwells (for a time) enveloped in conscious- 
ness. But when the envelopment of conscious- 
ness has been annihilated, then he becomes free 
of all fear, beyond the reach of change, enjoying 
final Nirvana." 3 

Thus everything, even the most fundamental 
doctrines of Buddhism and the existence of 
Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas, is denied.. 

But the negation is not intended to be absolute. 
The Vedantic metaphysicians could find no term 
to predicate of Brahma, the absolute, transcen- 

1 See above, p. 12. 2 See above, p. 16. 

3 From the Larger Prajna-paramitd-hridaya-sutra, trans- 
lated in Sacred Books of the East, vol. xlix. 



dental Reality, but " Nay, nay ! " And it is 
rather in this sense that we should interpret the 
negations of the Maha-yana philosophers. They 
predicate nothingness of everything but that 
1 which is beyond all predication, the inconceivable, 
I transcendental All. They felt that this was a 
reality too vast for words, a truth before which 
the thought must be still. But yet they felt it 
as mysteriously revealing its existence in their 
moral consciousness, as a divine glory faintly 
reflected in the soul of man, and they called it 
the Dharma-kdya, the " Body of the Law " ; for 
in the stillness of this transcendental unity of 
joy and love and peace all spirits are one, and 
this is the Law of the Buddha. Thus the 
Buddhists, like the Vedantis, were able to accept 
two spheres of reality. One was the absolute 
truth, the " Void "; the other was that of relative 
truth, in which they could rear their edifices of 
doctrine and myth. Of the Buddha and his 
Law they could, in transcendental truth, say only 
" No ! " As practical realities they affirmed them 

Being and thought are one, in the opinion of 
these Buddhist idealists ; in the objects of thought 
there dwells no reality except the thought which 
conceives them. Now the highest Being is the 
" Void," and the understanding of this is the 
" absolute truth," the " enlightenment " (bodhi) 
or " perfect wisdom " (prajnd-pdramitd), which 


is the peculiar possession of a Buddha. This 
knowledge is actually realised by a Buddha in 
the ecstasy of his Nirvana, where he dwells for 
ever in the utter stillness of infinite thought. 
But it sometimes happens that a Bodhi-sattva 
who, through the perfection of his wisdom and 
righteousness, is ripe to enter Nirvana, will not 
take this step, for his abounding compassion 
urges him to remain in finite being, and to soothe 
the sorrows of his fellow-creatures. His passage 
into Nirvana is then potential, capable of being 
realised at his will. This enlightenment in 
Nirvana, actual or potential, together with the 
" Void " which is its object and therefore is 
identical with it, is the Dharma-kdya, the " Body 
of the Law." 

But the needs of history and myth must 
also be satisfied ; and the Maha-yana achieved 
this by inventing two more conceptions, the 
Sambhoga-kdya, or " Body of Enjoyment," 
and the Nirmdna-kdya, or " Body of Magical 

Every Buddha has a domain of his own, or 
buddha-kshetra, a universe under the rule of the 
Law preached by him. The magnificence of such 
a domain is proportionate to the nobility of the 
deeds performed by its ruling Buddha during his 
probation as a Bodhi-sattva. In these domains 
the reigning Buddhas are revealed to their 
attendant Bodhi-sattvas in gigantic radiant 


forms, surrounded by lialos composed of magical 
figures of Buddhas. 1 These forms, though mani- 
fest to the sanctified senses of the divine company, 
are essentially spiritual ; and the Buddhas 
wearing them are constantly teaching their holy 
Law to the Bodhi-sattvas of highest rank, who 
appear in similarly transfigured bodies. This 
beatific form is the Sambhoga-kdya or " Body 
of Enjoyment." It is the fruit of the merit 
acquired by the Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas 
through countless deeds of liberality, long- 
suffering, and virtue. It dwells in the celestial 
sphere until the far-away day when the Buddha 
shall enter into his final Nirvana ; then in 
its place will appear a stupa, or monument- 
sanctuary, and the Buddha will rest in perfect 

In the case of the Buddhas this transfiguration 
is, strictly speaking, illusory. The Buddhas 
have passed into Nirvana, the Void ; they are 
identified with the " Body of the Law," in which 
finitude does not exist. But the merit of their 
good deeds still lives on in the finite world, and 
becomes a force working spontaneously for the 
happiness and welfare of other creatures. It 
thus creates in the minds of the holy Bodhi- 
sattvas the conception of a " Sambhoga-kaya " 

1 Abundant illustration will be found in the art of Northern 
Buddhism, especially in the frescoes of the recently dis- 
covered temples of Chinese Turkestan. 

of their Buddha revealing itself for their joy and 
instruction in beatific form. 1 

While this theory of the " Body of Enjoyment " 
satisfied the hunger of the imagination for visions 
of paradise, the doctrine of the " Body of Magical 
Form " attempted to explain the appearance of 
Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas in the world of 
mortality. They never really appeared among 
men, and never will so appear, according to the 
Buddhist sages ; they were but illusions, phan- 
toms which the Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas in 
their " Bodies of Enjoyment " created from their 
compassion to help and instruct the blind and 
sorrowing creatures of the world. Even as the 
Buddhas' merits have been turned to the profit 
of the Bodhi-sattvas by conjuring up before their 
eyes the vision of their transfigured forms in 
paradise, so this same force brings blessing to 
the lower classes of beings by creating for them 
apparitions of Buddhas and Bodhi-sattvas teach- 
ing the Law in the most diverse guises. And 
this idea has also its metaphysical side. We 
have seen that, to the Buddhist philosopher, the 
subject and the object of thought are really one, 
so that the Dharma-kaya represents at once the 
Infinite and the understanding of the Infinite. 

1 This explanation is due to M. L. de la Valise Poussin, in 
his article The Three Bodies of a Buddha, in the Journal of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, 1906, p. 943 foil. The reader should 
also consult Suzuki's Outlines of Mahd-ydna Buddhism. 



In the same way the " Body of Magical Form " 
represents also the universal Intellect when, 
under the influence of samskdras or " conforma- 
tions " resulting from former moments of con- 
sciousness and will, it conceives its object as a 
universe of finite forms. Thus the universal 
Intellect issues in what appear to themselves to 
be individual minds dwelling in finite worlds 
under the dispensation of the Buddhas. This 
seeming individuality and finitude is the con- 
genital illusion of the lower orders of creatures, 
from which the Law of the Buddhas alone can 
uplift them to union with the Absolute. 

The current of mystic imagination which 
culminated in this bold theology seems to have 
arisen early. Possibly it may, in a rudimentary 
form, have been one of the elements of primitive 
Buddhism which were rejected as heretical by the 
more puritanic schools of the " Hina-yana." 
Certainly it was already well established before 
the Christian era, and the famous Council of King 
Kanishka gave official recognition to the Maha- 
yana doctrines, and apparently granted to them 
the royal favour. If modern research is right 
in identifying the date of Kanishka's accession 
with the initial date of the Samvat era, 58 B.C., 
then the Council traditionally believed to have 
been held under his auspices must have sat not 
many years afterwards. 

To a somewhat later date may be ascribed a 


half-legendary, half-historical character that is 
of singular interest. The real Nagarjuna, the 
scholar who founded the Madhyamika school, 
is overshadowed by the legendary Nagarjuna, 
the hero of a hundred myths in which he figures 
as a miracle-working saint who propagated his 
doctrine by the marvels of his magic. These 
wild legends have passed from Buddhist circles 
into the common stock of Hindu tradition, 
where he has become a typical sorcerer, to whom 
are ascribed many works on the black art and 
divination, notably the popular Kaksha-puta. 

The real work of Nagarjuna, however, was much 
more respectable. He systematised the old 
Maha-yana into the Madhyamika school, which 
by its vigorous dialectic became one of the most 
effective vehicles of Northern Buddhism. And 
it is to a follower of his school, ^anti-deva, who ( 
lived in the seventh century, or possibly some- ' 
what earlier, that we owe two works, the Bodhi- 
charydvatdra and the tiiksha-samuchchaya, in 
which are embodied the keenest logic and the 
highest spiritual aspirations attained by the 
Buddhism of the North. 

The following pages contain an abridged 
translation of the original Sanskrit of the Bodhi- 
chary avatar a, based upon two editions, that 
contained in vol. ii. of the Journal of the Buddhist 
Text Society (Calcutta, 1894) and that pub- 
lished with Pranjakara-mati's commentary by 


Professor L. de la Vallee Poussin in the Biblio- 
theca Indica. 1 I have omitted a good deal of 
the text where it seemed needlessly prolix, and 
the whole of the scholastic disputation which 
makes up the bulk of the ninth chapter. But I 
hope that even in this curtailed form my transla- 
tion will enable readers to understand and fairly 
appreciate the fervent devotion and brotherly 
love which make this little book, in spite of its 
errors, a lasting monument of true religious 
emotion, " an everlasting possession." 

1 I have much pleasure in acknowledging my debt of 
gratitude to Professor Poussin's masterly French translation 
of the text published in the Revue d'Histoire et de Literature 
Rdigieuses, vols. x.-xii. (1905-1907) under the title Bodhi- 
carydvatara : Introduction a la Pratique des futurs Bouddhas. 



~T)EVERENTLY bowing before the Blessed 
*- Ones, their Sons, the Body of the Law, and 
all the worshipful ones (1), I will briefly set forth 
in accordance with Holy Writ the way whereby 
the sons of the Blessed Ones enter the godly life. 
Nothing new will be told here, nor have I skill 
in writing of books ; therefore I have done this 
work to hallow my own thoughts, not designing 
it for the welfare of others. By it the holy impulse 
within me to frame righteousness is strength- 
ened ; but if a fellow-creature should see it, this 
my book will fulfil another end likewise. 

This brief estate, which once gotten is a means 
to all the aims of mankind, is exceeding hard 
to win ; if one use it not for wholesome reflection, 
how shall it ever come again to his lot ? As in 
the night, amidst the gross darkness of the clouds, 
the lightning shews for an instant its radiance, 
so by the grace of the Enlightened it may hap 
that the mind of man turn for an instant to holy 
works. Thus righteousness is feeble, and the 
power of evil is constant, mighty, and dire ; by 
what righteousness could it be overcome, if there 


were not the Thought of Enlightenment ? (2) 
Pondering through many aeons, the Supreme 
Saints have found this blessing, whereby a 
swelling joy sweeps in sweetness down the bound- 
less waters of mankind. They who would escape 
the hundreds of life's sorrows, who would end the 
anguish of living creatures, and who would taste 
hundreds of deep delights, must never surrender 
the Thought of Enlightenment. The wretch held 
in thrall by Life's minions (3) is declared a son of 
the Blessed Ones straightway when the Thought 
of Enlightenment arises in him, and he becomes 
worshipful to the worlds of men and gods. This 
foul form that he has taken he makes into the 
priceless jewel of a Conqueror's form ; oh, grasp 
firmly the Thought of Enlightenment, that 
exceedingly potent elixir ! Ho, ye who are exiles 
in the marts of bodied being, grasp firmly the 
precious jewel of the Thought of Enlightenment, 
which the immeasurably wise sole Guides of the 
world's caravan have well assayed ! Like the 
plantain- tree (4), all other righteousness fades 
away after its fruit is cast ; but the tree of the 
Thought of Enlightenment bears everlasting fruit 
and fades not, but is ever fecund. Though he 
have wrought most grievous sins, a man by taking 
refuge therein escapes them straightway ; as 
ignorant beings under the guardianship of a 
mighty man escape sore terrors, why seek they 
not their refuge in this ? , . . 


Eager to escape sorrow, men rush into sorrow ; 
from desire of happiness they blindly slay their 
own happiness, enemies to themselves ; they 
hunger for happiness and suffer manifold pains ; 
whence shall come one so kind as he who can 
satisfy them with all manner of happiness, allay 
all their pains, and shatter their delusion whence 
such a friend, and whence such a holy deed ? 
He who repays good deed with good deed is 
praised ; what shall be said of the Son of En- 
lightenment, who does kindness unsought ? He 
who sets a banquet before a few is called a " doer 
of righteousness," and is honoured by the world, 
because in his pride he entertains men for half a 
day with a brief largesse of mere food ; but what 
of him who bestows on a measureless number of 
creatures a satisfaction of all desires unbounded in 
time and perishing not when the world of heaven 
perishes ? Such is the Master of the Banquet, 
the Son of the Conqueror ; whosoever sins in his 
heart against him, saith the Lord, shall abide 
in hell as many ages as the moments of his sin. 
But he whose spirit is at peace with them shall 
thence get abundant fruit ; and truly, wrong to 
the Sons of the Conqueror can be done only by 
great effort, but kindness towards them is easy. 
I do homage to the bodies of them in whom has 
arisen the choice jewel of the Thought, and even 
the ill-treatment of whom leads to happiness (5) ; 
in these mines of bliss I seek my refuge. 



To win this jewel of the Thought I offer perfect 
worship to the Blessed Ones (6), to the stainless 
gem of the Good Law, and to the Sons of the 
Enlightened (7), oceans of virtues. All flowers, 
fruits, and healing herbs, all gems and all waters 
clear and pleasant in the world, likewise moun- 
tains of jewels, forests sweet in their solitude, 
climbing plants bright with ornaments of flowers, 
trees whose branches bend with goodly fruit, 
fragrant incenses, trees of desire, and jewel- 
bearing trees in the worlds of the gods and their 
kin, lakes bedecked with lilies and wondrously 
pleasant with the cries of swans, harvests spring- 
ing without tilth and crops of grain, and all else 
adorning them whom we worship, all things that 
are bounded by the spreading ethereal sphere 
and are in the possession of none, I take in spirit 
and offer as guerdon to the Supreme Saints and 
their Sons. Worthy of choicest gifts and great 
of compassion, may they mercifully accept this 



of me ! I am exceeding poor, and without 
righteousness ; there is naught else for me to 
offer. So may their care for others' weal be for 
my weal, and let the Lords take this in their 
native grace. Yea, I give to the Conquerors and 
their Sons myself entirely. Take me for your 
chattel, O noble beings ; I make myself in love 
your slave. By being your chattel I am freed 
from fear in life, and work good for living crea- 
tures ; I escape my former sins, and do evil no 
more. . . . 

With as many obeisances as there are atoms 
in all the Domains (8) I adore all the Enlightened 
Ones of the past, present, and future, the Law, 
and the noble Congregation. I worship all the 
memorial-sanctuaries and the dwellings of the 
Son of the Enlightened (9) ; I salute the pre- 
ceptors and the worshipful holy men. I take 
refuge with the Enlightened One, awaiting the 
coming of the perfect Light ; I take refuge in 
the Law and the Congregation of Sons of En- 
lightenment. With clasped hands I make sup- 
plication to the Enlightened Ones dwelling hi all 
regions and to the most merciful Sons of En- 
lightenment. Whatsoever be the sin that I, poor 
brute, in my beginningless round of past births 
or in this birth have in my madness done or 
made others do or approved for my own undoing, 
I confess the transgression thereof, and am 
stricken with remorse. Whatsoever wrong I 


have done by sin against the Three Gems (10) or 
father and mother or other elders by deed, word, 
or thought, whatever dire offence has been 
wrought by me, a sinner foul with many a stain, 

Masters, I confess all. How may I escape from 
it ? Speedily save me, lest death come too soon 
upon me ere my sin have faded away. Death 
considers not what works be done or not done, 
and strikes us through our ease, a sudden 
thunder-bolt, unsure alike for the healthy and 
the sick. 

For the sake of things unloved and things 
loved have I sinned these many times ; and 
never have I thought that I must surrender 
everything and depart. They whom I love not, 
they whom I love, I myself, shall be no more, 
naught shall remain. All the things whereof I 
have feeling shall pass away into a memory ; 
like the vision of a dream, all departs, and is 
seen no more. The many whom I love or love 
not pass away while I stand here ; only the dire 
sin wrought for their sake remains before me. I 
understood not that I was but a chance comer, 
and through madness, love, or hatred I have 
wrought many a sin. Unceasingly through night 
and day the waning of vital force increases ; must 

1 not die ? Lying here on my bed, or standing 
amidst my kin, I must suffer the agonies of 
dissolution alone. Whence shall I find a kins- 
man, whence a friend, when the Death-god's 


messengers seize me ? Righteousness alone can 
save me then, and for that I have not sought. 
Clinging to brief life, I have been blind to this 
terror, heedless ; my Masters, grievous guilt 
have I gathered. He who is taken to be maimed 
of his limbs at once withers away ; thirst racks 
him, his sight is darkened, the world is changed 
to his sight. How then will it be with me when 
I am in the charge of the Death-god's hideous 
messengers, consumed by a fever of mighty terror, 
covered with filth, looking with timid glances 
to the four quarters of heaven for aid ? Who will 
be the friend to save me from that awful terror ? 
I shall see in the heavens no help, and sink back 
into madness ; then what shall I do in that place 
of horror ? Now, now I come for refuge to the 
mighty Lords of the world, the Conquerors eager 
for the world's protection, who allay all fear ; 
to the Law learned by them I come with all my 
heart for refuge, and to the Congregation of the 
Sons of Enlightenment. . . . Whatsoever guilt 
I have gathered in my foolishness and delusion, 
alike the wrong of nature and the wrong of 
commandment, I confess it all as I stand before 
the Masters with clasped hands, affrighted with 
grief, and making obeisance again and again. 
May my Lords take my transgression as it is ; 
never more, O Masters, will I do this unholy 



I REJOICE exceedingly in all creatures' good 
works that end the sorrows of their evil lot ; may 
the sorrowful find happiness ! I rejoice in the 
deliverance of embodied beings from the griefs 
of life's wanderings, and in the Sonship of 
Enlightenment, and the Enlightenment that 
belongs to the Saviours. I rejoice in the 
Commanders' (12) oceans of Thought, that bring 
happiness and establish welfare for all creatures. 
With clasped hands I entreat the perfectly 
Enlightened Ones who stand in all regions that 
they kindle the lamp of the Law for them who in 
their blindness fall into sorrow. With clasped 
hands I pray the Conquerors who yearn for the 
Stillness (13) that they abide here for endless seons, 
lest this world become blind. In reward for all 
this righteousness that I have won by my works I 
would fain become a soother of all the sorrows 
of all creatures. May I be a balm to the sick, 
their healer and servitor, until sickness come 



never again ; may I quench with rains of food 
and drink the anguish of hunger and thirst ; may 
I be in the famine of the ages' end their drink 
and meat ; may I become an unfailing store for 
the poor, and serve them with manifold things for 
their need. My own being and my pleasures, all 
my righteousness in the past, present, and future 
I surrender indifferently, that all creatures may 
win to their end. The Stillness lies in surrender 
of all things, and my spirit is fain for the Stillness ; 
if I must surrender all, it is best to give it for 
fellow-creatures. I yield myself to all living 
things to deal with me as they list ; they may 
smite or revile me for ever, bestrew me with dust, 
play with my body, laugh and wanton ; I have 
given them my body, why shall I care ? Let 
them make me do whatever works bring them 
pleasure ; but may never mishap befall any of 
them by reason of me. If the spirit of any be 
wroth or pleased with me, may that be ever a 
cause for them to win all their desires. May all 
who slander me, or do me hurt, or jeer at me, gain 
a share in Enlightenment. I would be a pro- 
tector of the unprotected, a guide of wayfarers, 
a ship, a dyke, and a bridge for them who seek 
the further Shore ; a lamp for them who need a 
lamp, a bed for them who need a bed, a slave for 
all beings who need a slave. I would be a magic 
gem, a lucky jar, a spell of power, a sovereign 
balm, a wishing-tree, a cow of plenty (14), for 


embodied beings. As the earth and other ele- 
ments are for the various service of the countless 
creatures dwelling in the whole of space, so may 
I in various wise support the whole sphere of 
life lodged in space, until all be at peace. As 
the Blessed of old took the Thought of En- 
lightenment and held fast to the rule for Sons of 
Enlightenment in the order thereof, so do I frame 
the Thought of Enlightenment for the weal of 
the world, and so will I observe these rules in 
their sequence. 

When he has thus taken the Thought of 
Enlightenment in a spirit of grace, the sage must 
fill his thought with gladness in order to strengthen 
the issue. This day my birth is fruitful, my 
human life a blessing ; this day have I been born 
in the race of the Enlightened, now am I their 
son. And henceforth mine is the task of them 
who work worthily of their race, lest any blemish 
fall upon this stainless stock. This Thought of 
Enlightenment has arisen within me I know not 
how, even as a gem might be gotten by a blind 
man from a dunghill ; it is an elixir made to 
destroy death in the world, an unfailing treasure 
to relieve the world's poverty, a supreme balm 
to allay the world's sickness, a tree under which 
may rest all creatures wearied with wandering 
over life's paths, a bridge open to all wayfarers 
for passing over hard ways, a moon of thought 
arising to cool the fever of the world's sin, a great 


sun driving away the gloom of the world's ignor- 
ance, a fresh butter created by the churning ot 
the milk of the Good Law. For the caravan of 
beings who wander through life's paths hungering 
to taste of happiness this banquet of bliss is 
prepared, that will satisfy all creatures coming 
to it. I summon to-day the world to the estate 
of Enlightenment, and meanwhile to happiness ; 
may gods, daemons, and other beings rejoice in 
the presence of all the Saviours ! 



THE son of the Conqueror, who has thus firmly 
laid hold of the Thought of Enlightenment, must 
constantly strive without slackening to observe 
the rule. If a work be undertaken in haste and 
without right reflection, one may well consider 
whether it should be done or no, even though a 
vow have been made ; but how should I delay 
in this work, which has been perpended by the 
Enlightened Ones, by their most sage Sons, and 
by me likewise according to the measure of my 
power ? If I fulfil not my vow by deeds, I shall 
be false to all beings, and what a fate will be 
mine ! Even of a small matter it is said that 
he who gives not what he has purposed in thought 
to give becomes a tortured ghost ; how, then, 
shall it be with him who proffers aloud and 
earnestly the gift of supreme happiness ? I shall 
be false to all the world, and what a fate will be 
mine ! . . . 



Therefore I must heedfully fulfil my vow ; if 
I labour not this very day, down, down I fall. 
Numberless are the Enlightened who have passed 
by in search of all living beings ; and through 
my own fault I have not come into their healing 
hands. If this day also I shall be as I have been 
again and again, misery, sickness, death, maiming, 
dismemberment, and the like will fall to my lot ; 
and when shall I win that most rare boon, the 
coming of one of the Enlightened, faith, human 
birth, and fitness to labour in righteousness, a 
day of health with food and no vexations ? Life 
is a brief instant, and plays us false ; the body 
is like a thing held in precarious tenure. Truly 
with deeds such as mine have been I shall not 
again win human birth ; and if I win it not, evil 
awaits me ; whence should good come ? Since 
I work not righteousness when I am able, how 
shall I do it when crazed by the pains of hell ? 
I do no righteous work, and gather sin ; the very 
name of good destiny is lost to me for millions of 
seons. Therefore the Lord has said that human 
birth is exceedingly hard to win ; hard as for a 
turtle to pass its neck into the hole of a yoke in 
the ocean. . . . 

I have found this most rare sphere of weal (15), 
I know not how ; and shall I with open eyes 
suffer myself to be borne back to these hells ? 
My thought cannot grasp it ; like one who is 
driven mad by spells, I know not by whom I 



am crazed or who possesses me. My foes, Desire, 
Hate, and their kindred, are handless and footless, 
they are neither valiant nor cunning ; how can 
they have enslaved me ? But they dwell in my 
spirit, and there at their ease smite me. And 
withal I am not wroth with them ; fie on my 
unseemly long-suffering ! If all gods and man- 
kind were my foes, they could not drag me to the 
fire of the hell Avlchi ; but into this flame, at 
the touch whereof not even ashes would remain 
of Meru (16), these mighty enemies the Passions 
hurl me in an instant. No other foes have life 
so long as the beginningless, endless, everlasting 
life of my enemies the Passions. All beings may 
be turned by submission to kindness ; but these 
Passions become all the more vexatious by my 
submission. Then whilst these everlasting foes, 
sole source of the birth of the floods of sorrow, are 
dwelling in my heart, how can I fearlessly rejoice 
in the life of the flesh ? Whence can I have 
happiness, if these warders of the prison-house 
of existence, ay, these torturers of the damned in 
hell and elsewhere, lodge in the house of my 
spirit, in the bower of my desire ? Then I will not 
lay down my burden until these foes be smitten 
before my eyes. Men of lofty spirit are stirred 
to wrath against even a mean offender, and sleep 
not until they have smitten him. They rage in 
the forefront of battle, furious, heeding not the 
anguish of wounds from arrows and javelins, to 


strike fiercely at the poor creatures doomed by 
nature to death, and turn not away until they 
have fulfilled their purpose. How then, and for 
what reason, should I, who have set myself to 
strike down these natural foes, the constant 
causes of all miseries, sink down in base despair, 
even for hundreds of disasters ? Men bear on 
their limbs, like ornaments, meaningless scars 
gotten from their enemies ; why should sufferings 
overcome me, who am labouring to accomplish 
a lofty end ? Setting their thoughts upon their 
mere livelihood, fishers, Chanqlalas, husbandmen, 
and the like bear the miseries of cold, heat, and 
the rest ; why should not I suffer them for the 
weal of the world ? 

Ah, when I vowed to deliver all beings within 
the bounds of space in its ten points (17) from 
the Passions, I myself had not won deliverance 
from the Passions. Knowing not my now 
measure, I spoke like a madman. Then I will 
never turn back from smiting the Passions. I 
will grapple with them, will wrathfully make war 
on them all except the passion that makes for 
the destruction of the Passions. Though my 
bowels ooze out and my head fall off, I will nowise 
abase myself before my foes the Passions. An 
enemy, though driven away, may establish himself 
in another spot, whence he may return with 
gathered powers ; but such is not the way of the 
enemy Passion. Where can this dweller in my 


spirit go when I cast him out ; where can he 
stand, to labour for my destruction ? It is only 
that I fool that I am make no effort ; the 
miserable Passions are to be overcome by the 
vision of wisdom. The Passions lie not in the 
objects of sense, nor in the sense-organs, nor 
between them, nor elsewhere ; where do they 
lie ? And yet they disturb the whole world ! 
They are but a phantom. Then cast away thy 
heart's terror, and labour for wisdom ; why 
shouldst thou vainly torture thyself in hell ? 
Thus resolved, I will strive to fulfil the rule as 
it has been taught ; how should he who needs 
medicine find healing, if he depart from the phy- 
sician's command ? 



HE who would keep the rules must diligently 
guard his thought ; the rules cannot be kept by 
him who guards not the fickle thought. Untamed 
elephants in their madness do not such harm here 
as the thought works in Avichi and the rest of 
the hells, a young elephant ranging free. But if 
the young elephant of thought be entirely bound 
by the rope of remembrance (18), all peril departs, 
and perfect happiness comes. Tigers, lions, 
elephants, bears, snakes, all foes, all the warders 
of the hells, witches and devils all of them are 
bound, if only thought be bound ; all are subdued 
if only thought be subdued. The Speaker of the 
Truth has said that from thought alone come all 
our countless terrors and griefs. Who has 
diligently forged the swords of hell, or its pave- 
ment of red-hot iron, and whence were born its 
sirens ? All this has sprung from the sinful thought, 
as the Saint's song tells ; thus in the threefold 
world there is no foe to fear save the thought. 
If the Perfect Charity frees the world from 


poverty, how could the Saviours of old have 
had it, since the world is still poor ? The Perfect 
Charity is declared to be the thought of sur- 
rendering to all beings our whole possessions 
and likewise the merit thereof ; thus it is but a 
thought (19). Where can fishes and other crea- 
tures be brought into safety, that I may not slay 
them ? When the thought to do them no hurt is 
conceived, that is deemed the Perfect Conduct. 
How many can I slay of the wicked, who are 
measureless as space ? But when the thought of 
wrath is slain, all my foes are slain. Whence can 
be found leather enough to cover the whole earth ? 
But with a single leather shoe the whole ground 
is covered. In like manner the forces without 
me I cannot control ; but I will control the 
thought within me, and what need have I for 
control of the rest ? Though aided by voice and 
body, indolence can never win for its prize an 
estate such as that of Brahma, which falls to the 
lot of the vigorous unaided thought. The prayers 
and mortifications of a heedless and feeble man, 
however long he labour, are all in vain, says the 
Omniscient. To overcome sorrow and win 
happiness men wander in vain, for they have not 
sanctified their thcfught, the mysterious essence 
of holiness. Then I must keep my thought well 
governed and well guarded ; what need is there 
of any vows save the vow to guard the 
thought ? . . . 


The thief Heedlessness, waiting to escape the 
eye of remembrance, robs men of the righteousness 
they have gathered, and they come to an evil 
lot. The Passions, a band of robbers, seek a 
lodging, and when they have found it they rob 
us and destroy our good estate of life. Then let 
remembrance never withdraw from the portal 
of the spirit ; and if it depart, let it be brought 
back by remembering the anguish of hell. Re- 
membrance grows easily in happy obedient souls 
from the reverence raised by their teachers' lore 
and from dwelling with their masters. " The 
Enlightened and their Sons keep unfailing watch 
in every place. Everything is before them, I 
stand in their presence." Pondering this thought, 
a man will be possessed by modesty, obedience, 
and reverence, and the remembrance of the 
Enlightened will thus be always with him. 
When remembrance stands on guard at the portal 
of the spirit, watchfulness comes, and nevermore 

The thought thus must be kept ever under 
watch ; I must always be as if without carnal 
sense, like a thing of wood. The eyes must never 
glance around without object ; their gaze should 
always be downward, as if in meditation. But 
sometimes, to rest his gaze, one may look around 
him ; he sees [strangers] as mere phantoms, but 
will turn his eyes upon them to bid them welcome. 
On the road, and other such places, he will look 


from time to time to the four quarters of space, 
to take note of danger ; he will rest and turn 
round to look about him. He will go forward 
or backward with heed, and in all conditions do 
what he has to do with understanding. In every 
act that he undertakes he will consider the due 
posture of his body, and from time to time will 
look to see how it is. He will watch with great 
heed the wild elephant of his thought, so that it 
remain bound to the stout stake of holy medita- 
tion and become not loosed. He will watch to 
see where his mind is moving, so that it may not 
even for an instant cast off the yoke of rapt 
devotion. . . . 

When the body is dragged hither and thither 
by vultures lusting for meat, why is it powerless 
to save itself ? Why dost thou watch over this 
frame, O my spirit, as if it were thine own ? if 
it is a thing apart from thee, what canst thou 
lose thereby ? Silly one, what thou claimest as 
thine is not as clean as a wooden doll ; why dost 
thou cling to this rotten machine framed in 
foulness ? Lift in thy imagination this envelope 
of skin, and with the scalpel of wisdom remove 
the flesh from the frame of bones. Open likewise 
the bones, and look upon the marrow within 
them. Then ask thyself what essential thing is 
therein. And now that thou hast made diligent 
search and found therein nothing essential, say 
wherefore thou still clingest to the body. Thou 


canst not eat its impurities and entrails, nor 
drink its blood ; what wilt thou do with the body ? 
This poor flesh, which thou guardest in order to 
feed vultures, jackals, and the like, is fitted only 
to be a tool for men's works. Though thou 
guardest it thus, pitiless Death will tear away 
the body and give it to the vultures ; and then 
what wilt thou do ? To a servant who will not 
remain, gifts of garments and the like are not 
given ; when it has eaten, the body will depart, 
then why waste thy riches upon it ? Pay to it 
its wage, then set thy thought upon thine own 
business ; for we give not to the hireling all that 
he may earn. Conceive of the body as a ship 
that travels to and fro, and make it go at thy 
bidding for creatures to fulfil their end. 

He who is thus master of himself will ever 
bear a smiling face ; he will put away frowns and 
be first to greet others, a friend of the world. He 
will not noisily and hastily throw down benches 
or the like, nor beat upon a door, but always 
will delight in silence. The crane, the cat, and 
the thief walk silently and calmly, and accomplish 
the end that they desire ; thus the holy man will 
always act. He will accept with bowed head the 
words of those who are skilful in exhorting others 
and do kindness unsought ; he will ever be the 
disciple of all men. He will give applause to all 
kindly words ; when he sees one who does righteous 
works, he will gladden him with praises. . . . 


The Perfections, Charity, and the rest, are of 
an ascending order of excellence ; he will not 
forsake a more excellent for another, save in 
respect of the dyke of virtue (20). Thus minded, 
he will be always active for the welfare of others ; 
even a forbidden deed is permitted to him in his 
kindliness, if he foresees a good result. He will 
give of his alms to the fallen, the masterless, and 
the religious, and eat himself but a moderate 
portion ; he will surrender everything but his 
three robes (21). He will not for slight purpose 
afflict his body, which is in the service of the 
Good Law ; for thus it will speedily fulfil the 
desires of living beings. And therefore he will not 
cast away his life for one whose spirit of mercy 
is impure (22), but only for one whose spirit is 
like his own ; and thus naught is lost. ... 



ALL the righteousness, the charity, the worship 
of the Blessed, that have been wrought in thou- 
sands of aeons, are destroyed by ill-will. There 
is no guilt equal to hatred, no mortification 
equal to long-suffering ; and therefore one should 
diligently practise patience in divers ways. 
While the arrow of hate is in the heart, none can 
have a peaceful mind in equipoise, or feel the 
joy of kindliness, none can win sleep or calm. 
They whom a master cursed with an evil spirit 
honours with wealth and favours, and who dwell 
under his protection, seek nevertheless to destroy 
him. Even his friends are in terror of him. His 
gifts win for him no service. In short, there is 
no way for a passionate man to find happiness. 
He who stoutly fights against wrath, the enemy 
that brings these and other sorrows, wins joy in 
this world and beyond. Nourished by discontent, 
hatred grows swollen and destroys me ; and 
discontent springs from doing unpleasing works 
or^from^the baffling of desire. Then I will cut 


off the nourishment of my enemy, for this foe- 
man's sole purpose is to slay me. My cheer- 
fulness shall not be disturbed, even by the most 
untoward events ; discontent works no good, 
and only destroys merit. What profits dis- 
content if there is a remedy ; and what profits 
it if there is none ? We shrink from sorrow, 
defeat, rude speech, and dishonour for ourselves 
and our friends, and from the opposite of these 
for our enemy. Happiness is hard to win, pain 
comes readily ; there is no escape from life save 
by pain ; then be firm, my spirit ! The 
Karnatas, the " little children of Durga," suffer 
the agonies of burning and maiming in a vain 
hope of salvation ; why then shall I be faint- 
hearted ? There is nothing which practice cannot 
make easy ; so by practice in slight sufferings 
we learn to bear great pains. Flies, stinging 
creatures, gnats, hunger, thirst, and other like 
pains, fierce itch and other like miseries lookest 
thou upon these as profitless ? Before cold, 
heat, rain, wind, travel, sickness, bondage, and 
blows be not tender and delicate, else thy 
anguish will increase. Some there are who at 
the sight of their own blood become exceedingly 
valorous, and some at sight of others' blood fall 
into faintness. This comes about through firm- 
ness and feebleness of spirit ; then he who is 
unconquerable by pain will overcome suffering. 
Even in pain the wise man will not let the calm 


of his spirit be disturbed ; for he is at war with 
the Passions, and in war suffering abounds. They 
who overcome their foes by presenting their 
bosoms to the enemy's blows are " victors," 
" heroes " ; the rest are " slayers of the slain." 

Another virtue of suffering is that from loathing 
of the flesh pride is brought low, and there arise 
pity for the creatures wandering through births, 
fear of sin, and love for the Conqueror. 

I have no anger against the gall and the rest 
of my humours (23), although they cause great 
suffering ; then can one be wroth against thinking 
beings, who likewise are deranged by outer 
forces ? As a bodily pain arises unwilled [by 
the humours], so too wrath perforce arises un- 
willed [in the offender]. A man does not become 
angry of his free will and with purpose of anger ; 
nor does wrath resolve of itself to break forth 
before it breaks forth. All offences, all the 
various sins, spring of necessity from outer forces ; 
none are self-guided. The total of outer forces 
has no consciousness that it engenders an effect, 
and the effect has no consciousness that it is 
engendered. The " Primal Matter " and " Soul " 
of which forsooth men talk are imaginations (24). 
They do not come into being with consciousness 
of doing so. Before coming into being they do 
not exist ; and who can then desire to come 
into being ? If the " soul " is active upon its 
objects, it will not cease thence ; and if it is 


constant, impassive, and like the ether, it is 
manifestly inactive ; for though it be joined to 
outer forces, how can a changeless thing act ? 
What part of the action is done by a thing which 
at the time of action is the same as before it ? 
If " its own action " is the bond [between soul and 
object], what is the ground of this ? Thus every- 
. thing depends on a cause, and this cause likewise 
? is not independent ; in no wise, then, can wrath 
1 be felt against beings mechanical as phantoms. 

" Then there can be no restraint ; what is to 
be arrested, and who shall arrest it ? " Not 
so ; for since all is really the work of outer forces, 
hence we deem that sorrow may have an end (25). 
So when we see a foe, or even a friend, doing un- 
righteously, let us remember that such are the outer 
forces moving him, and remain in peace. If all 
mortals could win their ends at their own pleasure, 
none would suffer vexation ; for none desire it. 

In heedlessness, wrath, or lust for women and 
other things beyond their reach, men bring them- 
selves into distress from thorns, lack of food, 
and the like. Some destroy themselves by 
hanging, springing down from a height, taking 
poison or unwholesome measure of food, or doing 
unrighteousness. Since under the sway of the 
passions they harm thus their own persons, which 
they love, how can they spare the bodies of others? 
Maddened by passions, striving for their own 
destruction, there can be only pity for them ; 


how should we be angered ? If it is the nature 
of fools to hurt their fellows, it is as wrong for 
me to feel anger against them as it is to be wroth 
with the fire which naturally burns me ; and if 
again it is a passing frailty, and creatures are 
upright of nature, then it is as wrong to be 
angered against them as against the air when 
smoke fills it. 

Say I am angered not against the instrument 
the stick or whatso it may be but against him 
who moves it. But he is moved by hatred ; it 
is better then for me to hate hatred. I myself 
in former times have wrought the same suffering 
for other creatures ; then I deserve this for 
having done hurt to living beings. The cause of 
my suffering is twofold my enemy's sword and 
my body. He has taken the sword, I the body ; 
with which shall I be angry ? What I have got 
is an ulcer in the shape of a body, unable to bear 
the touch ; and thus tortured in the blindness 
of desire, with what shall I be wroth ? I seek 
not suffering, yet in my folly seek the cause of 
suffering ; since my pain comes from my own 
offence, why shall I be wroth with another ? The 
forest whose leaves are swords, the birds of hell, 
spring from my own works ; with whom then 
shall I be wroth ? They who do me hurt are 
moved thereto by my works, and thence they 
fall into hell ; surely it is I that undo them ! 
Thanks to them, my guilt through much patience 


fades away ; thanks to me, they go to the long 
agonies of hell. It is I who do them hurt, they 
who do me kindness ; base-spirited fellow, where- 
fore this absurd anger ? If I fall not into hell, 
it will be by the merit of my spirit ; what matter 
is it to them that I save myself ? (26) If I should 
return them evil for evil, they would not be 
saved thereby ; my progress would be wrecked ; 
and these poor creatures would be lost. 

In no place and by naught can the mind be 
destroyed, for it is unembodied ; but from 
imaginations clinging to the body it suffers with 
the body's hurt. Discomfiture, rude speech, 
dishonour, all these things harm not the body ; 
then why art thou wroth, my spirit ? Can 
the ill-will of others towards me touch me in 
this life or in births to come, that I should mislike 
it ? Haply I may mislike it because it hinders 
me from gaining alms ; but then the alms that I 
get will vanish here, my guilt will stay with me 
for ever. Better for me to die this same day than 
to live long in sin, for however long I stay, the 
same death-agony awaits me. One man in 
dreams enjoys a hundred years of bliss, and 
awakes ; another is happy for an hour, and 
awakes ; surely the pleasure of both, when they 
wake, is alike ended. And so it is at the time of 
death with the long-lived and the short-lived. 
Though I may get many gifts, and long enjoy my 
pleasures, I shall depart empty-handed and naked, 


as if stripped by robbers. " By my gains I may 
live to wipe out my sin and do righteousness " 
ay, but he who is angry for the sake of gain 
wipes out his righteousness and does sin. If 
that for which I live is lost, what profits life 
itself which is spent wholly in ungodliness ? 

" I hate him who speaks to my blame, for he 

brings creatures to destruction " then why art 

thou not angry against him who rails at others ? 

Thou bearest with the unkindly when their un- 

kindness touches others, and bearest not with the 

caviller who touches on the growth of thy vices ! 

It is unmeet for me to hate them that destroy 

or revile images, sanctuaries, or the Good Law ; 

for the Enlightened and their company thereby 

take no hurt. If men wrong thy dear ones, 

masters, brothers, and the rest, know as before 

that outer forces are working, and restrain thy 

wrath. Whether it be wrought by a thing with 

or without thought, suffering is assured to living 

beings ; it is found in whatever has thought ; 

then bear with it. Some in their blindness do 

wrong, others in their blindness are wroth with 

them ; whom of these may we call blameless, 

or whom guilty ? Why hast thou of old done 

so that thou art thus afflicted now by others ? 

All are under the sway of their own works ; who 

am I to undo this ? Knowing this, I will strive 

to do righteousness, so that all may be full of 

love for one another. 


When a house is burning, and the fire may 
fall upon the next house and seize upon the straw 
and like stuff within it, we carry this stuff away 
from it ; and in like manner must we straightway 
cast out the things by touch whereof the spirit 
is inflamed with the fire of wrath, for fear lest 
the substance of our merit be consumed. 

If a man doomed to death be released with 
one hand cut off, is it not well for him ? and if 
one through human tribulations escapes hell, is 
it not also well for him ? If one cannot bear the 
small suffering of the moment, then why does he 
not put away the wrath that will bring upon him 
the agonies of hell ? By reason of wrath I have 
been thus afflicted in hell thousands of times, and 
done no service to myself or to others. My 
present tribulation is not so heavy, and will be 
very gainful ; let me be glad of a suffering that 
redeems the world from its suffering. 

If some find delight in praising one of high 
worth, why, my spirit, dost thou not rejoice 
likewise in praising him ? Such joy will bring 
thee no blame ; it will be a fountain of happiness ; 
it is not forbidden by men of worth ; it is the 
noblest way to win over thy fellows. If thou art 
not pleased because he [who praises] is glad, then 
thou wouldst forbid such things as payment for 
service, and seen and unseen rewards alike 
perish (27). Thou art willing for thy neighbour 
to be glad when he praises thy worth ; but thou 


art loth to be thyself glad when another's worth 
is praised. Thou hast framed the Thought of 
Enlightenment in desire to make all creatures 
happy : then why now art thou wroth with 
creatures who of themselves find happiness ? 
Forsooth thou wouldst have all beings become 
Buddhas, and worthy of the three worlds' 
worship ; then why art thou vexed to see their 
brief honours ? He who nurtures them that 
thou shouldst nurture gives to thee ; yet when 
thou findest one that feeds thy household, thou 
art wroth, not glad ! He that desires the en- 
lightenment of living beings desires all good for 
them ; but whence can one have the Thought of 
Enlightenment who is angered at another's good 
fortune ? If the gift comes not to thy neighbour, 
it stays in the house of the offerer ; in no wise 
does it fall to thee : what matter to thee whether 
it be given or no ? Shall he check his righteous- 
ness, the kindness of others, or his own worth ? 
shall he not take what is given ? say, art thou 
not angered in every case ? Not only wilt thou 
not grieve for thine own sins, but thou darest to 
be jealous of the righteous. If sorrow could 
befall thine enemy at thy pleasure, what would 
come of it ? Thy mere ill-will cannot bring 
forth an issue without a cause ; but if it were 
accomplished by thy wish, what happiness 
wouldst thou have in his grief ? The issue then 
would be more harmful to thee than aught else. 


This is in sooth a deadly hook in the hands of the 
fisher Passion ; the wardens of hell will take thee 
thence in purchase and seethe thee in their 

Praise, glory, and honours make not for 
righteousness or long life, or for strength, or 
health, or pleasure of the body. But such will 
be the end sought by a wise man knowing his 
advantage ; and he who desires mirth of spirit 
may give himself to drink, gambling, and the 
like. For glory men waste their substance, ay, 
even their lives. But will syllables feed them ? 
and when they are dead, who has pleasure of it ? 
As a child wails bitterly when its house of sand is 
broken down, so I deem my own spirit will be 
when praise and glory vanish. Praise is but sound, 
and being itself without thought, cannot praise me. 

" Nay, I am glad, forsooth, because my neigh- 
bour is pleased with me." But what is it to me 
whether my neighbour is pleased with me or with 
another ? the joy is his ; not the smallest share 
of it is mine. If happiness springs from the joy 
of others, then I should have it in every event ; 
so why am I not glad when men rejoice to 
honour another ? Then gladness arises within 
me only because I am praised ; and thus, being 
foreign to myself, it is an utter child's play. 

These praises and honours destroy my welfare 
and horror of the flesh ; they arouse envy of the 
worthy and anger at their fortune. Then they 


who rise against me to crush my glory and honour 
are in truth working to save me from falling into 
hell. If I seek deliverance, gains and honours 
are a fetter that befit me not : how can I hate 
them that release me from this bond ? By the 
blessing of the Enlightened, as it were, they 
become a door barring my way into sorrow ; 
how can I hate them ? " But he hinders me 
from righteous works " nay, it is not well to be 
angry for this. There is no work of mortification 
equal to long-suffering, and surely this is an 
occasion for it. If by my sin here I show not 
patience towards him, it is I who hinder myself 
from doing righteousness when the occasion for 
it has come. If one thing exists not without 
another, and exists when the other is present, 
the latter is the cause of the former : how can it 
be called a hindrance to it ? The beggar who 
comes at the due hour makes no hindrance to the 
almsgiving ; and if a monk comes who can ad- 
minister the vows, it is not called a hindrance to 
our taking the vows (28). We find many beggars 
in the world, but few who will do us hurt ; for if 
I do no wrong, no man will wrong me. Then an 
enemy is like a treasure found in my house, won 
without labour of mine ; I must cherish him, 
for he is a helper in the way to Enlightenment. 
Thus this fruit of my patience is won by me 
and by him together ; to him must be given the 
first share, for he is the cause of my patience. 


" But my enemy seeks not to prosper my 
patience, and therefore he is not worthy of 
honour " nay, why then do we honour the Good 
Law, the unconscious cause of blessing ? " Nay, 
his purpose is to do me hurt " but if an enemy 
is therefore not honoured, how can I otherwise 
shew patience towards him, as though he were 
intent, like a physician, on my welfare ? It is by 
reason of his evil design that my patience is 
born ; therefore he is the cause of patience, and 
as worthy of honour from me as the Good Law. 
Therefore the Saint has told of the Domain of 
Creatures and the Domain of Conquerors (29) ; 
for by seeking the favour of creatures and Con- 
querors many have risen to supreme fortune. 
Since with both creatures and Conquerors is the 
same gift of the qualities of the Enlightened (30), 
how may we deal partially and refuse to creatures 
the reverence shown to Conquerors ? The great- 
ness of the purpose lies not in itself, but in its 
works ; hence creatures have a like greatness, 
and therein they are like [to the Enlightened]. 
The greatness of creatures is that he who has the 
spirit of kindliness towards them wins worship ; 
the greatness of the Enlightened is that merit 
is won by love toward them. Thus creatures 
are like to the Conquerors by giving in part the 
dower of the qualities of the Enlightened, albeit 
none^of them are peer to the Enlightened, who 
are oceans of virtues, infinite of parts ; and if 


even one atom-small virtue from these sole stores 
of the essence of the virtues be found in any 
creature, the whole threefold world is not enough 
for his worship. In creatures is found a little 
power, but that most noble, for bringing forth 
the qualities of the Enlightened ; according to 
that little power should creatures be honoured. 

Moreover, what perfect reparation can be 
made to these Kinsmen without guile, these doers 
of immeasurable kindness, save the service of 
creatures ? They tear their own bodies, they 
go down into the hell Avichi, all for the welfare 
of others ; then even to them who most sorely 
wrong us we must do all manner of good. How 
dare I shew pride, instead of a slave's humble- 
ness, towards those masters for whose sake my 
Masters are heedless of their own lives ? When 
they are happy, the Saints are rejoiced, and 
wroth when they are distressed ; in their gladness 
is the gladness of all the Saints ; when they are 
wronged, wrong is done to the Saints. As one 
whose body is entirely in flame finds no comfort 
in any things of desire, so when creatures are 
distressed these beings of mercy have no way to 
find pleasure. Forasmuch then as I have done 
hurt to all these most compassionate beings by 
doing hurt to living things, I confess now my 
sin ; may the Saints pardon me for the wrong 
that I have done them ! To win the grace of the 
Blessed Ones to-day I make myself utterly the 


slave of the world. Let the crowds of living 
beings set their feet upon my head, or smite me, 
and the Lord of the World be glad ! Beyond 
all doubt these Merciful Ones have made the 
whole universe their own ; truly it is our Lords 
who shew themselves in the form of creatures, 
and dare we despise them ? It is this that 
moves the Blessed to grace, this that wins my 
true end, this that wipes away the misery of the 
world ; then be this my vow ! 

A single henchman of the king handles a crowd 
rudely ; and the throng, looking on from afar, 
dares not shew sign of passion ; for he is not 
alone, the king's power is his strength. And 
likewise thou mayst not dishonour him who 
wrongs thee because he is weak ; for the warders 
of hell and the Merciful Ones are his strength. 
Then let us seek the favour of creatures, as a 
servant the favour of a wrathful king. Can a 
king in his anger bring upon us the anguish of 
hell, which we shall bear for making creatures 
sorrowful ? Can a king in his pleasure bestow 
aught equal to Enlightenment, which we shall 
bear for making creatures happy ? But beside 
the destined Enlightenment that springs from 
kindness to creatures, seest thou not that herein 
lie fortune, glory, comfort ? Favour, health, 
joy, long life, and abounding delight of empire 
fall to the lot of the patient man in the course of 
his lives, 



Now he who is patient will seek for strength, for 
in strength lies Enlightenment. Without 
strength there is no righteous work, as without 
the wind there is no motion. And what is 
strength ? Vigour hi well-doing. What is its 
contrary called ? Faintness, clinging to base 
things, despair, self-contempt. From inaction, 
delight in pleasure, slumber, and eagerness for 
repose springs a spirit that feels no horror at the 
miseries of life, and from this arises faintness. 
Pursued by the Passions, those fishers, thou hast 
come into the net of Birth, and knowest thou not 
that this selfsame day thou hast fallen into the 
jaws of Death ? Seest thou not thy comrades 
smitten down one after the other ? and withal 
thou fallest into slumber like a bullock in the 
butcher's hands. Watched by the Death-god, 
thy ways hemmed in on every side, how canst 
thou find delight in food, how canst thou sleep 
and love ? Wait a little while, until Death shall 



have gathered his instruments, and he will come 
swiftly upon thee ; then it will be an ill time for 
thee to cast off thy faintness, and what wilt thou 
do ? " This work untouched, this begun, this 
standing half-done and lo ! Death has suddenly 
fallen upon me ! Alas, I am undone ! " Such 
will be thy thoughts, whilst thou lookest upon 
thy despairing kinsmen with their eyes swollen 
and red with tears in the passion of their grief, 
and upon the faces of the Death-god's messengers, 
whilst thou liest racked by the memory of thy 
sins, hearing the noises of hell, altogether over- 
whelmed and oh, what wilt thou do ? 

It is well for thee to think fearfully of thyself 
here as of a living fish (31), much more so for the 
sinner to dread the fierce anguish of hell. Thou 
art burnt if warm water touch thee, tender 
creature that thou art ; and when thou doest 
damnable sins, how canst thou sit thus com- 
fortably ? wretched soul, that longest for 
reward unearned by striving, thou that art so 
tender and much afflicted, thou immortal, thou 
art devoured by Death, and undone ! Thou 
hast found the ship of manhood ; then sail in it 
across the broad river of sorrow. Fool, this is 
no time for slumber ; it will be hard to find the 
ship again. How canst thou forsake the noble 
delight in the Law, which brings an endless 
course of comforts, and find pleasure in wanton- 
ness, mirth, and other like sources of sorrow ? 


The spirit that knows not despair, the troops 
of the Army (32), devoted heed, self -submission, 
equal esteem of self and others, and regard of 
others in place of self [are the supports of strength]. 

Let me not despair that the Enlightenment 
will come to me ; for the Blessed One, the speaker 
of truth, has revealed this truth, that they who 
by force of striving have gained hard-won supreme 
Enlightenment have been erstwhile gnats, gad- 
flies, flies, and worms. Now I am a man by 
birth, able to know good and evil : why shall I 
not win the Enlightenment by following the rule 
of the All-knowing ? If I am afraid when I think 
that I must give my hand or foot, it is because 
in my heedlessness I confound things of great 
and of small weight. I may be cleft, pierced, 
burnt, split open many and many a time for 
countless millions of aeons, and never win the 
Enlightenment. But this pain that wins me 
the Enlightenment is of brief term ; it is like 
the pain of cutting out a buried arrow to heal its 
smart. All physicians restore health by painful 
courses ; then to undo much suffering let us 
bear a little. But even this fitting course the 
Great Physician has not enjoined upon us ; he 
heals them that are grievously sick by tender 
treatment. At first our Lord ordains gifts only 
of herbs and the like, and then in due course 
brings men at last to surrender even their own 
flesh. When there comes to man the spirit that 


looks upon his flesh as no more than herbs, what 
hardship is it for him to surrender his flesh and 
bone ? He is not hurt, for he has cast off sin, 
nor sad, for knowledge is his ; for distress comes 
in the mind from false imaginations, and in the 
body from sin. The body is made happy by 
righteous works, the spirit by knowledge ; what 
can vex the compassionate one who remains in 
embodied life only for the welfare of others ? 
Annulling his former sins, amassing oceans of 
righteousness, by the power of his Thought of 
Enlightenment he travels more swiftly than the 
Disciples (33). Having thus in the Thought of 
Enlightenment a chariot that removes all vexa- 
tion and weariness, travelling from happiness to 
happiness, who that is wise will despair ? 

To accomplish the welfare of his fellow-creatures 
he has an Army, the troops of which are Love of 
Right, Constancy, Joy, and Abandonment. The 
Love of Right he will frame from the fear of 
suffering and from pondering upon merits. When 
he has uprooted his foes, he will strive for increase 
of vigour by means of his armies, which are the 
love of right, pride, joy, abandonment, devoted 
heed, and self -submission. Countless are the 
faults in myself and my fellows that I shall have 
to destroy, and hundreds of thousands of seons 
must pass ere even one of these fade away. But 
I find not in myself the least morsel of vigour 
to set myself to undo these faults ; I am doomed 


to boundless anguish, and why does my bosom 
not burst ? Many are the virtues in myself and 
my fellows that must be gained, and hundreds of 
thousands of aeons will scarce be enough for the 
practice of even one of them. But I have never 
practised the least morsel of virtue ; to no 
purpose has been spent the birth so hardly and 
marvellously won. The joy of the great festivals 
in worship of the Lord has not been mine ; I 
have done no honour to the Law, nor fulfilled 
the desire of the poor ; I have not given security 
to them that are in fear, nor happiness to the 
afflicted ; I have been only a vexation of my 
mother's womb, to work sorrow. Because of 
old I departed from the love of right, I am now 
in this evil plight ; who would forsake the love 
of right ? This love the Saint has proclaimed 
to be the root of all righteous works ; and its 
root is the constant meditation upon the fruit 
that grows from deeds. Manifold are the pains, 
the sorrows, the terrors, and the disappointments 
that arise to sinners. Whithersoever the desire 
of the righteous turns, it is greeted with happy 
issue, because of their merits ; and whithersoever 
turns the sinner's yearning for pleasure, it is 
smitten with swords of pain, because of his sins. 
They that are godly of works enter the wombs 
of broad, sweet-smelling, cool lotus-blossoms ; 
their lustrous forms grow nurtured by the Con- 
queror's sweet melody ; then they issue in comely 


beauty from the lotus-flowers awakened by the 
sunbeams of the Holy One, and are born as Sons 
of the Blessed in the presence of the Blessed. 
As to them that are ungodly of works, shrieking 
in anguish, they are flayed of their whole skin by 
the Death-god's henchmen, their bodies bathed 
with copper molten in the fire, their flesh cut off 
in gobbets by hundreds of blows from flaming 
swords and pikes, and they fall again and again 
upon beds of red-hot iron. Then let the love of 
righteousness be with you, and be heedful thus to 
foster it. 

In setting his hand to a work one should foster 
pride, according to the rule of the Vajra-dhvaja 
Sutra. When he has first considered the sum 
of circumstances, he will either begin it, or not 
begin it ; for it is better not to begin at all than 
to leave undone what has been begun. For this 
practice will last even into other births, and from 
such sin will arise abounding sorrow ; and not 
only is the present work not accomplished, but 
likewise others that might be done in the same 
time come not to pass. 

In respect of three things may pride be borne 
man's works, his temptations, and his power. 
The pride of works lies in the thought " for me 
alone is the task." This world, enslaved by 
passion, is powerless to accomplish its own weal ; 
then I must do it for them, for I am not impotent 
like them. Shall another do a lowly task while 


I am standing by ? If I in my pride will not do 
it, better it is that my pride perish. The very 
crow becomes a Garuda (34) when he lights 
upon a dead lizard ; if my spirit is feeble, the 
least occasion of sin will overcome me. To him 
who is palsied by a faint heart occasions of sin 
come abundantly ; but he who has a noble pride 
ever alert is unconquerable even by great tempta- 
tions. Then with firm spirit I will undo the 
occasions of undoing ; if I should be conquered 
by them, my ambition to conquer the threefold 
world would be a jest. I will conquer all ; none 
shall conquer me. This is the pride that I will 
bear, for I am the son of the Conqueror-Lions. 
Creatures who are overcome by arrogance bear 
the title of misery, not of pride ; he that is proud 
falls not into the power of the foe, but they are 
slaves to the foe Arrogance. Through arrogance 
they are brought into evil estate, and even in 
human birth lose their joys, eating the bread of 
others, slaves, fools, uncomely, wasted away ; 
despised on all sides are the wretches stiff in 
arrogance ; if they are ranked with the proud, 
say, who are the miserable ? Proud, victorious, 
heroic are they who set their pride on conquest 
of the foe Arrogance, who overthrow him in all 
his might, and freely show to the world the fruit 
of their conquest. 

Surrounded by the troop of the Passions, a 
man should become a thousand times prouder, 


and be as unconquerable to their hordes as a lion 
to flocks of deer. Even in great stress the eye is 
unconscious of the sense of taste ; and so, into 
whatever straits he may come, he will not fall 
into the power of the Passions. He will utterly 
give himself over to whatever task arrives, greedy 
for the work, insatiate of spirit, like one who 
lusts for the delight issuing from his sport. Every 
work is done for the sake of happiness, whether 
the happiness come or no ; but how can he whose 
happiness is work itself be happy in doing no 
work ? Desires, like honey on the edge of a 
razor's blade, bring no contentment in life ; but 
what satiety can there be from the divine draughts 
of righteous deeds, that are blessed and sweet in 
their issue ? Then when one work is brought 
to an end, he will plunge into another, as the 
elephant, vexed by the heat of midday, plunges 
straightway into the lake that he finds. 

But when his strength fails, he will withdraw 
from his work ; and if it be happily ended, he 
will leave it, in eagerness for more and more 
tasks. He will guard himself against the blows 
of the Passions, and deal stout blows against the 
Passions, as though fighting with the sword 
against a skilful foe. As one in fear swiftly 
takes up again a fallen sword, so he will take up 
the fallen sword of remembrance, bethinking 
himself of hell. 

As poison that has reached the blood spreads 


through the body, so the sin that finds a weak 
spot spreads through the spirit. A man carrying 
a bowl full of oil, surrounded by soldiers with 
drawn swords, in fear of death if he should trip, 
will walk needfully (35) ; and so it is with him 
that is under the vow. Then when slumber and 
faintness fall upon him, he will strive against 
them as speedily as one springs up when a serpent 
is creeping into his lap. Whenever he is caught 
unawares, he will be sorely grieved, and consider 
what he should do that it may not befall him 
again. For the sake of this he will desire godly 
company or tasks to come in his way, that his 
remembrance may be exercised in these condi- 
tions. Remembering the Sermon on Heedful- 
ness (36), he will hold himself in readiness, so 
that even before a task comes to him he is pre- 
pared to turn to every course. As the seed of 
the cotton-tree is swayed at the coming and 
going of the wind, so will he be obedient to his 
resolution ; and thus divine power is gained. 



WHEN thus vigour has been nurtured, it is well 
to fix the thought in concentred effort ; the man 
of wandering mind lies between the fangs of the 
Passions. It cannot wander if body and thought 
be in solitude ; so it is well to forsake the world 
and put away vain imaginations (37). Because 
of love, or hunger for gain, and the like, men will 
not forsake the world ; then in order to cast it 
aside the wise will lay to heart these thoughts. 
Passion is overcome only by him who has won 
through stillness of spirit the perfect vision. 
Knowing this, I must first seek for stillness ; it 
comes through the contentment that is regardless 
of the world. What creature of a day should 
cling to other frail beings, when he can never 
again through thousands of births behold his 
beloved ? Yet when he sees him not, he is ill at 
ease ; he rests not in concentred thought ; and 
even when he beholds him he is not satisfied, but 
is distressed by the same longing as before. He 



sees not things in their reality ; he loses his 
horror of the world ; he is consumed by his grief 
in yearning for union with the beloved. In 
thoughts thereupon his brief life vainly passes 
away hour by hour ; and the eternal Law is 
broken for the sake of a short-lived friend ! 

If he share in the life of the foolish, a man 
assuredly goes to hell ; if he share it not, he wins 
hatred ; what profits it to have commerce with 
the foolish ? They are friends for a moment, 
foes for a moment, wrathful when they should be 
pleased how hard to content are the worldly ! 
They are angered if wholesomely counselled, and 
hold me back from good ; if I heed them not 
they are wroth, and pass into hell. When can 
good come of a fool ? He is jealous of a better 
man, contentious with a peer, haughty towards 
one that is lower, puffed up by praise, angered 
by blame. Exaltation of self, blame of others, 
discourse in praise of worldly pleasure some 
such guilt will assuredly come from fool to fool. 
Thus it is from the union of one with another ; 
evil thereby meets evil. I will live alone, in peace 
and with untroubled mind. 

It is well to flee from the foolish. If he come 
in thy way, seek to win him over by kindness, 
not so as to hold commerce with him, but in a 
manner of godly indifference. I will take from 
him only enough for the holy life (38), as the bee 
takes honey from the flower ; thus in every 


place I will hold myself from commerce with 
him, like the new moon (39). 

The mortal who thinks of his gains or his 
honours or the favour of many men will be 
afraid of death when it falls upon him. What- 
soever it be in which the pleasure-crazed spirit 
takes its delight, that thing becomes a pain a 
thousand times greater. Therefore the wise man 
will seek not for pleasure, for from desire arises 
terror ; and if it come of itself, let him stand 
firm and wait. Many there are who have found 
gain, many who have won fame ; but none know 
whither they have gone, with their gains and 
their fame. Some loathe me ; then why shall I 
rejoice in being praised ? Some praise me ; then 
why shall I be cast down by blame ? 

Living beings are of diverse character ; not 
even the Conquerors can content them, much less 
simple souls such as I. Then why think of the 
world ? They blame a fellow-creature who gains 
naught, they scorn him who gains something ; 
being thus by nature unpleasant companions, 
what happiness can come from them ? The 
Blessed Ones have said that the fool is no man's 
friend ; for the fool has no love save where his 
interest lies. The love that rests on interest is 
but selfish, even as grief at loss of wealth springs 
from loss of pleasure. 

Trees are not disdainful, and ask for no toilsome 
wooing ; fain would I consort with those sweet 


companions ! Fain would I dwell in some 
deserted sanctuary, beneath a tree or in caves, 
that I might walk without heed, looking never 
behind ! Fain would I abide in nature's own 
spacious and lordless lands, a homeless wanderer 
free of will, my sole wealth a clay bowl, my cloak 
profitless to robbers, fearless and careless of my 
body ! Fain would I go to my home the 
graveyard, and compare with other skeletons my 
own frail body ! for this my body will become 
so foul that the very jackals will not approach 
it because of its stench. The bony members born 
with this corporeal frame will fall asunder from 
it, much more so my friends. Alone man is born, 
alone he dies ; no other has a share in his sorrows. 
What avail friends, but to bar his way ? As a 
wayfarer takes a brief lodging, so he that is 
travelling through the way of existence finds in 
each birth but a passing rest. 

It is well for a man to depart to the forest ere 
the four bearers (40) carry him away amidst the 
laments of his folk. Free from commerce and 
hindrance, possessing naught but his body, he 
has no grief at the hour of death, for already he 
has died to the world ; no neighbours are there 
to vex him or disturb his remembrance of the 
Enlightened and like thoughts (41). Then I will 
ever woo sweet Solitude, untroubled dayspring of 
bliss, stilling all unrest. Released from all other 
thoughts, with mind utterly set upon my own 


spirit, I will strive to concentre and control my 

The desires beget harm in this world and 
beyond : here, by bondage, slaughter, and loss of 
limb ; beyond, in hell. That for the sake of 
which thou hast bowed many a time before 
bawds, heeding not sin nor infamy, and cast 
thyself into peril and wasted thy substance, that 
which by its embrace has brought thee supreme 
delight it is naught but bones, now free and 
unpossessed ; wilt thou not take thy fill of 
embraces now, and delight thyself ? This was 
the face that erstwhile turned downwards in 
modesty and was unwilling to look up, hidden 
behind a veil whether eyes gazed upon it or 
gazed not ; and this face now the vultures unveil 
to thee, as though they could not bear thy 
impatience. Look on it why dost thou flee now 
from it ? ... 

Mark how fortune brings endless misfortune by 
the miseries of winning it, guarding it, and losing 
it ; men's thoughts cling altogether to their 
riches, so that they have not a moment to free 
themselves from the sorrows of life. Thus they 
who are possessed by desire suffer much and enjoy 
little, as the ox that drags a cart gets but a morsel 
of grass. For the sake of this morsel of enjoy- 
ment, which falls easily to the beast's lot, man, 
blinded by his destiny, wastes this brief fortune, 
that is so hard to win (42). For all time lasts 


the struggle for the welfare of the mean body 
that is doomed to depart and fall into hell, and 
even a millionth part of this labour would win 
the rank of the Enlightened. Greater is the pain 
of them that are possessed by desire than the 
pain of the way of holiness, and no Enlightenment 
comes to them. Neither sword, nor poison, nor 
fire, nor fall into abysses, nor foemen may be 
compared to the desires, if we bear in mind the 
agonies of hell and the like. Then shrink from 
the desires, and learn delight in solitude, in the 
peaceful woodlands void of strife and toil. Happy 
are they who are fanned by the sweet silent 
breezes of the forest, as they walk upon the 
pleasant rock-floors broad as in a palace and 
cooled by the moonbeams' sandal ointment, and 
take thought for the weal of their fellow-creatures ! 
Dwelling anywhere for what time they will, in 
deserted sanctuary or cave or beneath the trees, 
saved from the weariness of winning and guarding 
possessions, they wander fancy-free at pleasure. 
Indra (43) himself can hardly win the bliss of 
contentment that is enjoyed by him who wanders 
homeless at his own free will and unattached to 

By pondering in such wise upon the excellences 
of solitude a man stills vain imaginations and 
strengthens his Thought of Enlightenment. First 
he will diligently foster the thought that his 
fellow-creatures are the same as himself. " All 


have the same sorrows, the same joys as I, and I 
must guard them like myself. The body, mani- 
fold of parts in its division of members, must be 
preserved as a whole ; and so likewise this 
manifold universe has its sorrow and its joy in 
common. Although my pain may bring no hurt 
to other bodies, nevertheless it is a pain to me, 
which I cannot bear because of the love of self ; 
and though I cannot in myself feel the pain of 
another, it is a pain to him which he cannot bear 
because of the love of self. I must destroy the 
pain of another as though it were my own, 
because it is a pain ; I must show kindness to 
others, for they are creatures as I am myself. . . . 
Then, as I would guard myself from evil repute, 
so I will frame a spirit of helpfulness and tender- 
ness towards others." 

By constant use the idea of an " I " attaches 
itself to foreign drops of seed and blood, although 
the thing exists not. Then why should I not 
conceive my fellow's body as my own self ? That 
my body is foreign to me is not hard to see. I 
will think of myself as a sinner, of others as 
oceans of virtue ; I will cease to live as self, and 
will take as my self my fellow-creatures. We love 
our hands and other limbs, as members of the 
body ; then why not love other living beings, 
as members of the universe ? By constant use 
man comes to imagine that his body, which has 
no self -being, is a " self " ; why then should he 


not conceive his " self " to lie in his fellows also ? 
Thus in doing service to others pride, admira- 
tion, and desire of reward find no place, for 
thereby we satisfy the wants of our own self. 
Then, as thou wouldst guard thyself against 
suffering and sorrow, so exercise the spirit of 
helpfulness and tenderness towards the world. . . . 
Make thyself a spy for the service of others, 
and whatsoever thou seest in thy body's work 
that is good for thy fellows, perform it so that it 
may be conveyed to them. Be thou jealous of 
thine own self when thou seest that it is at ease 
and thy fellow in distress, that it is in high estate 
and he is brought low, that it is at rest and he is 
at labour. Make thine own self lose its pleasures 
and bear the sorrow of thy fellows ; mark its 
deceit at each time and in each act. Cast upon 
its head the guilt even of others' works ; make 
confession to the Great Saint of even its slightest 
sin. Darken its glory by telling of the greater 
glory of others. Make it a carrier in thy fellow- 
creatures' service, like a mean slave. It is made 
of sin, and because it may have some chance 
morsel of goodness from without, it is not there- 
fore worthy of praise. Let no man know its 
goodness. In short, let all the wrong that thou 
hast done for the sake of thine own self to others 
fall upon thine own self for the sake of thy fellow- 
creatures. Grant it no power to talk overmuch ; 
keep it in the condition of a young bride, abashed, 


timid, and guarded. Bend it to thy will by 
commanding it how it shall act and stand and 
forbear, and chastise it for disobedience. " O 
my spirit, thou wilt not do as I bid thee ; then I 
will chastise thee, for in thee all sins find a home. 
Whither wilt thou go ? I shall see thee, and 
overthrow all thy pride ; the days are gone when 
I let myself be undone by thee. Put away now 
the hope that thou canst still seek an advantage 
of thine own ; I have sold thee into the hands of 
others, heeding not however much thou mayst 
suffer. For if through heedlessness I deliver 
thee not over to my fellow-creatures, thou wilt 
doubtless deliver me to the warders of hell. 
Many times hast thou thus betrayed me, and 
long have I been racked ; remembering these 
deeds of enmity, I will destroy thee, thou slave 
of self-seeking." If thou lovest thyself, thou 
must have no love of self ; if thou wouldst save 
thyself, thou dost not well to be saving of self. 
The more heedfully the body is guarded, the 
sorer are its sufferings and the deeper its fall. 

But despite its fall, the whole earth cannot 
satisfy the lust of the flesh ; who can do its 
will ? To him who longs for the impossible 
come guilt and bafflement of desire ; but he 
who is utterly without desire has a happiness 
that ages not. Then give no room for the lust 
of the flesh to swell ; blessed indeed is the thing 
that is not imagined for the sake of its pleasant- 


ness. The body is a motionless thing stirred 
by something without, and ending in ashes, a 
loathsome frame of foulness ; why do I cling to 
it ? What have I to do with this machine, alive 
or dead ? What distinguishes it from such 
things as clods of earth ? Alas, O thought of 
self, thou wilt not die ! Through complicity 
with the flesh I win sorrow, all to no purpose ; it 
is no better than a thing of wood, and what 
should avail its hatred or its kindness ? It feels 
no love when I guard it, no hate when vultures 
devour it ; then why do I love it ? I am angered 
when it is treated with scorn, delighted when it 
is honoured ; but if it has no knowledge, to what 
end is my toil ? My friends, forsooth, are they 
who wish well to this body ; but all men wish 
well to their own flesh, and why are not they 
also my friends ? So I have surrendered my 
body indifferently for the weal of the world ; it 
is but as an instrument of work that I still bear 
it, with all its guilt. Enough then of worldly 
ways ! I follow in the path of the Wise, re- 
membering the Discourse upon Heedfulness (44) 
and putting away sloth. To overcome the power 
of darkness I concentre my thought, drawing 
the spirit away from vain paths and fixing it 
straightly upon its stay (45). 



ALL this equipment (46) the Sage has ordained 
for the sake of wisdom ; so he that seeks to still 
sorrow must get him wisdom. We deem that 
there are two verities, the Veiled Truth and the 
Transcendent Reality. The Reality is beyond 
the range of the understanding ; the understand- 
ing is called Veiled Truth (47). . . . Thus there 
is never either cessation or existence ; the universe 
neither comes to be nor halts in being. Life's 
courses, if thou considerest them, are like dreams 
and as the plantain's branches (48) ; in reality there 
is no distinction between those that are at rest 
and those that are not at rest. Since then the 
forms of being are empty, what can be gained, 
and what lost ? who can be honoured or despised, 
and by whom ? Whence should come joy or 
sorrow ? What is sweet, what bitter ? What is 
desire, and where shall this desire in verity be 
sought ? If thou considerest the world of living 
things, who shall die therein ? who shall be 



born, who is born ? who is a kinsman and 
who a friend, and to whom ? Would that my 
fellow-creatures should understand that all is 
as the void ! They are angered and delighted 
by their matters of strife and rejoicing ; with 
grief and labour, with despair, with rending and 
stabbing one another, they wearily pass their 
days in sin as they seek their own pleasure ; they 
die and fall into hells of long and bitter anguish ; 
they return again and again to happy births after 
births and grow wonted to joy (49). . . . In life 
are oceans of sorrow, fierce and boundless beyond 
compare, a scant measure of power, a brief term 
of years ; our years are spent in vain strivings 
for existence and health, in hunger, faintness, 
and labour, in sleep, in vexation, in fruitless 
commerce with fools, and discernment is hard to 
win ; how shall we come to restrain the spirit 
from its wont of wandering ? There, too, the 
Spirit of Desire (50) is labouring to cast us into 
deep hells ; there evil paths abound, and un- 
belief can scarce be overcome ; it is hard to win j , 
a brief return, exceeding hard for the Enlightened 
to arise to us ; the torrent of passion can scarce 
be stayed. Alas, how sorrow follows on sorrow ! 
Alas, how lamentable is the estate of them that 
are borne down in the floods of affliction, and in 
their sore distress see not how sad their plight 
is, like one who should again and again come 
forth from the waters of his bath and cast himself 


into fire, and so in their sore trouble deem them- 
selves to be in happy estate ! As thus they live 
in sport that knows not of age and dissolution, 
dire afflictions will come upon them, with Death 
in their forefront. Then when will the day come 
when I may bring peace to them that are tortured 
in the fire of sorrow by my ministrations of 
sweetness born from the rain-clouds of my 
righteousness, and when I may reverently declare 
to the souls who imagine a real world that all 
is void, and righteousness is gathered by looking 
beyond the Veiled Truth (51) ? 


(1) "As is fitting, the book begins with homage to the 
' threefold jewel,' or ' three pearls,' i.e. in early Buddhism, 
the Buddha (^akya-muni), the Law preached by him (Dhar- 
ma), and the brotherhood of his monks (Sangha). Here, 
agreeably to the doctrines of the Great Vehicle, we have 
(i) the Buddhas, designated by the title Sugata, ' the well 
gone,' or ' the well arrived,' i.e. ' they who have left the 
world of becoming in order to enter Nirvana,' or ' who 
know the truth,' ' who have departed to return no more,' 
' who have cast off all frailty of body, speech, and mind.' 
These definitions aim at establishing from every point of 
view a fundamental difference between the Buddhas and 
all other beings, (ii) The sons of the Buddhas, namely 
(a) the Bodhi-sattvas ('creatures of enlightenment') who 
have reached a ' stage,' a ' ground,' even though it be 
the first, in their career as future Buddhas (in opposition to 
the future Buddhas, Bodhi-sattvas, who have not yet entered 
upon the career, or are only at the outset of it) ; (b) all ' the 
worshipful ones,' i.e. the ' teachers of discipline or doc- 
trine,' etc. We must understand ' all spiritual friends.' 
(iii) The ' Body of the Law,' i.e. either the sum-total of 
the Scriptures or ' the Body of the Law of the Buddhas,' 
in opposition to their bodies as visible upon this earth, and 
to their bodies as beatified in paradise. This Body is the 
uncreated wisdom which constitutes the essence of all the 
Buddhas ; and the Law preached by the Buddhas is only 



the intellectual or verbal expression of this wisdom " (Prof. 
de la Vallee Poussin). 

(2) The " Thought of Enlightenment " (Bodhi-cUtta) is to 
the Maha-yina what ' grace ' is to Christian theology. 
Buddhism, in common with the other schools of Indian 
thought, holds that all living beings are fettered in the 
beginningless and endless cycle of embodied births, metemp- 
sychosis or samsara, in which every instant of present 
experience is a resultant of former actions. Only the 
Buddhas, the loving teachers of salvation to mankind, have 
risen after aeons of effort in countless births into the trans- 
cendental peace of Nirvana. Hence the great religious 
duty of the believer is aspiration to become a Buddha for 
the weal of fellow-creatures. This yearning arises in his 
heart, by the special grace of the Buddhas, in the form of 
the Bodhi-chitta, which is finely expressed by our author 
in his third chapter. By this vow the believer constitutes 
himself a Bodhi-sattva, " or creature of enlightenment," of 
the first stage ; he has devoted himself to the acquisition of 
merit by charity and knowledge which shall raise him through 
higher and higher planes of existence, until he reaches the 
condition of the celestial Bodhi-sattvas, such as Manju- 
ghosha and Avalokitesvara, who have attained the highest 
beatification that the finite universe can give, and are only 
delaying their departure into the infinite stillness of Nir- 
vana in order to continue their works as loving guides and 
helpers of mankind towards happiness and spiritual sanctifi- 

(3) The minions of life are the passions and other frailties 
which keep the soul enchained in the cycle (samsara) of 
bodily births. 

(4) The Musa sapientum. 

(5) See the chapter on the Perfect Long-suffering, below. 

(6) The Buddhas, here styled Tathagata, on which see 
the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for 1893, p. 103 f. 
Compare the term Sugata (above, note 1). 

(7) This term here denotes the divine Bodhi-sattvas 


(Avalokitesvara, Manju-ghosha, etc.), who have reached the 
higher stages of beatification. 

(8) A Buddha-lcshetra, or " domain of Buddha," ia a 
system of a thousand millions of worlds, each under the 
guardianship of a Buddha. 

(9) This refers to the Buddha of the present era, Gautama 
the S*akya, and the places hallowed by his pious deeds iu 
varous births previous to his Nirvana. 

(10) The Buddha, the Law, and the Congregation. 

(11) See above, note 2. 

(12) These are the celestial Bodhi-sattvas (see notes 1, 2). 

(13) " Stillness " is perhaps the most suitable term to 
express the idea of Nirvana ; compare Deussen, Allgemeine 
Geschichte der Philosophic, bd. i., abteil. 3, pp. Ill f., 152 f., 
etc. Nirvana does not signify extinction or annihilation, 
as is commonly imagined in Europe, but the very reverse, 
perfect spiritual self-realisation in transcendental being. 
The metaphor first occurs in the Upanishads, and frequently 
reappears later in non-Buddhist theology ; it denotes rrao- 
ksha, the state in which the individual soul, identifying 
itself with universal Being, is entirely at rest in itself and 
in Brahma, in the stillness of infinite thought. The fire of 
delusion and earthly desire has become extinguished in it 
by the annihilation of its fuel, the false imagination of finite 
being. Nirvana is thus similar to the yoga, or ecstasy of the 
Yogic adept, which is technically defined as diitta-vritti- 
nirodha, cessation of the activity of the finite imagination, 
and it is frequently used in the same connection. Nirvana 
properly may denote either the blowing-out of a flame, or 
the burning of a flame undisturbed by wind (compare Bha- 
gavad-glta, vi. 19). The latter interpretation will suit the 
oldest passages where the word occurs ; but the former is 
also applicable, and is necessary hi some of the later passages. 
Now the Buddhists denied the existence of a soul, or per- 
manent Self. Logically, therefore, they could not assert 
the existence of a Nirvana, or transcendental existence of 
the soul or Self ; and theoretically, indeed, the Madhyamika 



school of the Maha-yana denied Nirvana as well as finite 
being, substituting for the whole the universal " Void," 

(i&unya, which however is only another name for infinite 
Being, the unqualified Transcendental. Buddhist orthodoxy 
refused to speculate on this antinomy. But in the same way 
as Buddhism, whr'le denying the Brahmanic conception of 
> the soul, substitutes for it the santdna, or succession of mo- 
ments of consciousness, which practically differs very little 
from it, so its conception of Nirvana practically amounted 
to much the same as the Brahmanic ideal. See above, p. 19. 

(14) The " lucky jar " is a magic vessel in which is found 
whatever the owner desires ; the " wishing- tree " and the 
" cow of plenty " are part of the furniture of the Hindu 
paradise, and have similar properties. 

(15) Namely, human birth under the dispensation of a 

(16) Meru is an imaginary mountain in the Hindu cos- 
mology, which forms the centre of the universe, and around 
which the sun and moon turn. 

(17) The ten points of space are the north, south, east, 
west, north-east, south-east, north-west, south-west, zenith, 
and nadir. 

(18) The remembrance is of the Law of the Buddha and 
of the teachings of his Church. 

(19) The Perfect Charity (Dana-pdramita) is not an 
actual deliverance of the world from poverty (misery due 
to worldly desire), but an intention for such deliverance ; 
it is a grace of the spirit. Thus purity of the will is the 
greatest of all virtues, and the foundation of all. Similarly, 
the Perfect Conduct (Glla-paramita), which is the subject 
of this chapter, consists essentially in the will to hurt no 
living creature. 

i (20) Morality is higher than charity, patience than morality, 

fi etc., and the aspirant to Buddhahood must not practise 

< charity at the expense of morality, and so on. But this 

rule has an exception. The essential principle of the divine 

Bodhi-sattvas' conduct is sikshd-samvara, "right and holy 


conduct," the dyke which holds in their place the " waters of 
righteousness " ; and this principle must never be infringed 
by the aspirant's action. 

(21) The aspirant, having collected alms of food by begging 
from door to door, will divide it into four parts, one for each 
of the three classes here mentioned, and one for himself. The 
three robes allowed to Buddhist devotees are of yellow rags. 

(22) Namely, a person whose compassion is excited 
Merely in connection with friends, enemies, the unfortunate, 
etc. The aspirant devotes his whole self to the welfare of 
fellow-creatures, but this gift must not be too hastily given. 
It should be reserved for occasions when it will assist to 
enlightenment, etc., another aspirant of equal or greater 
power for good. 

(23) The fundamental principle of Hindu medicine, like 
that of the Greeks, is the existence of three " humours " 
(dosha, dhatu), namely, wind, gall, and slime, which when 
in equipoise cause health, and when disturbed produce 

(24) Here comes a polemic against the Sankhya and the 
Vedanti schools. The former divide existence into primal 
Matter and individual souls which by connection with the 
former assume the functions of finite thought. The Ve- 
dantis believe in a single universal soul or Brahma, essentially 
indeterminate, which by the operation of the cosmic Illusion 
(Maya) differentiates itself into individual finite souls. 
Buddhism denies the existence of a permanent soul, sub- 
stituting for it a succession of instants of consciousness. 

(25) It may be objected that if all action is a purely 
mechanical result of previously existent forces, the action 
of the mind in hatred, etc., is also mechanical, and cannot 
be checked, and hence the peace and salvation of the spirit 
are unattainable. But this is not the case, according to 
our author. Existence is a series of forces proceeding one 
from the other (the pratitya-samutpdda ; but by arresting 
one of these the individual arrests all subsequent forces as 
far as he is concerned ; and the primary force is ignorance. 

100 NOTES 

(26) If I save myself from hell by refraining from retalia- 
tion upon those who wrong me, the merit of this is mine ; 
and their merit, which consists in forcing me to suffer and 
expiate my guilt from former deeds, is not lessened by this 
merit of mine. 

(27) The objector claims that, while he admits the merits 
of the person praised, he cannot abide the pleasure which 
the eulogist feels in praising him. But this is a sin. To 
every man must be given his just reward, both in this and 
other worlds ; and both the eulogy and the eulogist's jojr 
are part of the reward of the person eulogised. 

(28) The presence of a pravrajaka, an ascetic who has 
himself withdrawn from the world, causes us to perform 
the pravrajya, i.e. to take from him the vows of his ascetic 
order and become a monk in his company. 

(29) Living creatures are a "domain" (kshetra) for the 
acquisition of merit by the aspirants to enlightenment ; for 
merit is gained by showing love, charity, etc., towards them. 
The Buddhas or " Conquerors " (Jina) are likewise a " do- 
main " ; merit is gained by doing service to them. (Cf. note 
7 above.) 

(30) Both Buddhas and inferior creatures alike assist the 
aspirant to win merit and become a Buddha himself. True, 
the Buddhas are immeasurably good and great, and are 
always consciously beneficent, while other creatures often 
are in their intention maleficent. But if v,e measure the 
worth of a purpose by its results, noting that wrong-doing 
is a " blessing in disguise " to the sufferer, we must conclude 
that the purpose of a Buddha's help is not more valuable 
to the aspirant than the various motives of other creatures 
with whom he has dealings. 

(31) This refers to the Eastern custom of keeping fish 
alive in tanks until they are needed for the kitchen. 

(32) See p. 76. 

(33) This is a polemical reference to the Hlna-yana school 
of Buddhism, of which the adepts (Sravaka) sought en- 
lightenment and Nirvana for themselves and by themselves. 

NOTES 101 

Is not such a course more rapid and sure than that recom- 
mended by our author, in which the aspirant to Buddhahood 
deliberately postpones his^ Nirvana in order to work for the 
welfare of the world ? Santi-deva here brushes aside this 
objection. In his ninth chapter, in a passage omitted in 
this translation, he attempts to prove that the Hlna-yana 
can atta. ; n neither Nirvana nor suppression of passion. 

(34) The sacred kite on which the god Vishnu rides. 

(35) A reference to an ordeal hi a well-known legend. 

(36) See Dhamma-pada, ch. ii. 

(37) Namely, conceptions inspired by sensual love, hatred, 
or delusion, which agitate the spirit. 

(38) To wit, alms of food and the rags from which is made 
the beggar-monk's robe. 

(39) This is a play on words. Bala signifies (i) a fool, 
and (ii) the morning sun, the red glow of which does not 
stain the pure whiteness of the new moon. 

(40) The bearers of the funeral bier. 

(41) At the hour of death he can fix his thought upon 
the Buddha and the Law, without disturbance from the 
laments of kinsfolk and friends. 

(42) Under the malignant influence of former evil works 
men fail to use the opportunity of salvation offered by 
their human birth, and after death are reborn in hell or 
as lower beings. 

(43) The chief of the gods, who dwells in paradise, svarga. 

(44) Dhamma-pada, ch. ii. 

(45) This refers to the spiritual exercises practised by 
the Buddhists, as by other Hindu devotees. In order to 
fender the thought immobile and uninfluenced by external 
sensations, various physical objects are prescribed to be 
rigidly contemplated by it, which, together with the themes 
of meditation described above, raise it to a state of still 
ecstasy, from which it passes either into a blessed rebirth 
or into final Nirvana. 

(46) Namely, the Perfections of charity, morality, etc. 

(47) This distinction of "veiled" or conventional reality 

102 NOTES 

(samvriti-satya) and transcendental reality (paramartha- 
satya) is shared by the Madhyamikas with the monistio 
Vedantis. The former conceives objects as they appear to 
the normal intelligence of finite beings ; but this mode of 
conception is false when viewed from the standpoint of 
transcendental verity, which insists upon the essentially 
infinite and inconceivable nature of things. Thus in the 
higher reality nothing can be predicated of anything ; all 
is inconceivable, " void." Our author here launches upon 
a long discussion, omitted in our translation, in which he 
argues that the impermanence of finite being, which the 
Hina-yana regards as the highest truth, is, from the trans- 
cendental standpoint of his school (the Madhyamika) mere 
illusion; that the Vijnana-vadis, who hold that nothing 
exists but pure absolute thought, are likewise mistaken ; 
that the Hina-yana is insufficient in theory and in practice ; 
that the conception of an ego held by non-Buddhist philo- 
sophers is false ; that the principles upon which various 
heretical schools wrongly regard being as based are non- 
existent ; and that the only legitimate attitude is that of 
the Madhyamikas, with their denial of the validity of the 
means of knowledge and their doctrine of a conventional 
reality on the one hand and a higher reality or " void " 
on the other. 

(48) See above, note 4. 

(49) The following stanza appears to mean : " In life 
there are many precipices, and no true reality" (reading 
atatvam) ; " there are contradictions, and can be no true 
reality." But as this meaning is somewhat uncertain, I 
have omitted it in my translation. 

(50) Mara, the embodiment of worldly desire and lust 
of the flesh. 

(51) The tenth chapter, which follows in the original 
Sanskrit, is omitted in this translation, as its 58 verses 
contain only prayers for the welfare of all beings for the 
sake of the merit acquired by our author in composing this 
work. A quotation is given in the Introduction, p. 26 f. 


As an epilogue to the Bodhi-charydvatdra, I 
append a translation of the Karikas, or metrical 
summary of the main themes of Santi-deva'a 
other great work, the Sikshd-samuchchaya. 
These verses consist of twenty-eight stanzas in 
the anushtubh metre, and may be taken as aa 
epitome of the Bodhi-charydvatdra.] 

Since both I and my fellow-creatures dread 
and hate pain, what is the peculiar quality of 
my Self, that I should care for it, rather than 
for my fellow-men ? 

He that would make an end of sorrow and 
come to the bound of happiness must stablish 
firmly the root of Faith and immovably set his 
thought upon Enlightenment. 

The Bodhi-sattva's rule of holiness develope* 
from the Maha-yana. Therefore one should know- 
its principles, and so be free from evil. 



Surrender to all creatures thine own person 1 
and thy pleasures, yea, and thy righteousness 
too, in past, present, and future time ; guard 
them, and increase thy holiness. 

For the enjoyment of fellow-creatures are 
sacrificed our own persons and the like. If they 
be not guarded, how can they be enjoyed ? and 
can that be a gift that is not enjoyed ? 

Therefore to the end that fellow-creatures may 
have the enjoyment thereof, one should protect 
his own person and the like, by leaving never 
the Blest Friend and by studying ever the 

Now what means it to guard one's own person ? 
to shun mishap. How is this all found ? by 
shunning fruitless effort. 

Fulfil this work ever by mindfulness. From 
deep reverence springs mindfulness ; and rever- 
ence, the glory of the chastened spirit, arises 
from an understanding zeal. 

" He that hath concentred thought under- 

1 The word atma-UhJava, literally "condition of self," i.e. 
person or body, properly denotes the plexus of concepts 
which collectively form the idea of an individual being as 
conceived by himself. 


stands what is as it verily is," said the Saint. 
Let the spirit turn away from outward action, 
and fall never away from its stillness. 

Steadfast throughout, mild of spirit, one 
should by gentle address win over worthy men, 
and thus become acceptable. 

The worldly folk who scorn the scion of the 
Conqueror and accept him not shall be broiled 
in all the hells, like fire hidden under ash. 

Therefore the Conqueror in the Ratna-megha 
has told in brief the holy rule : " Heedfully avoid 
that which gives displeasure to thy fellow- 
creatures." 1 

Thus to care for one's own person with medi- 
cines, clothing, and the like, if it be to indulge the 
lust of the flesh, leads to grievous misfortune. 

" Let man set himself to good deeds, and withal 
know the mean throughout." Through thispre- 
ept it is easy for him to guard his enjoyment. 

By quenching the lust for issues of thine 
own advantage, thy righteousness will be well 
guarded. Regret not thy deeds, nor make a 
public talk of them. 

1 Or, " that whereby fellow-creatures lose their faith." 


The Bodhi-sattva will dread gain and honour, 
will shun exaltation ; he will have glad faith 
Law, and dismiss doubts. 

When the body is made pure, it becomes 
wholesome for creatures to enjoy, like perfect 
spotless rice. 

As a crop of grain overgrown by weeds sinks 
under disease, and thrives not, so a scion of the 
Buddha, if overcome by sin, cannot grow in grace. 

What is the " cleansing of our person " ? Cleans- 
ing it of evil and sin, in obedience to the words 
of the Enlightened. If this endeavour be lacking, 
hell awaits us. 

Let men be long-suffering, and fain to hear the 
Law, then let them withdraw to the forest, strain 
the thought on concentred effort, and ponder 
upon the uncleanness of the flesh and the like. 

Understand how to make clean thy enjoy- 
ments, until thy soul be cleansed. Make thy 
merit pure by deeds full of the spirit of tender- 
ness and the Void. l 

1 Acts are to be inspired by knowledge of the Void and 
brotherly love. These two requisites (sambhara), the intel- 
lectual and the moral, are necessary for spiritual advance- 
ment ; one is of no avail without the other. 


Full many there are who will take from thee. 
If thou hast but little, what of that ? if it give* 
not full satisfaction, then it must be increased. 

What is increase of the body ? increase 
of strength and energy. Increase of enjoyment 
is from almsgiving full of the spirit of tenderness 
and the Void. 

Firstly should a man with care establish 
firmly his resolution and purpose ; then with an 
attendant spirit of tenderness, he should strive 
to increase his merit. 

The rule of right conduct worship and the 
like should ever be reverently observed. Let 
faith and the like be always practised, likewise 
brotherly love and the remembrance of the 

In short, the weal of fellow-beings in all con- 
ditions, the godly gift without worldly desire, 
and the Thought of Enlightenment cause right- 
eousness to increase. 

Perfection arises from constancy in the heedful 
effort to make right renunciations, by remem- 
brance, by attention, and by true meditation. 





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